Applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to decode complex patterns of DNA methylation


In plants DNA methylation plays an important role in regulating gene expression. DNA methylation can also act as a “soft mutation” creating phenotypic variation. Decoding complex patterns of methylation is a key challenge if we are to understand and harness this variation for crop breeding.

This project aims to take a data driven approach, bringing together large amounts of open data, then using and develop machine learning algorithms to identify methylation sites or patterns critical for regulating gene expression in multiple plant species.

The project is a collaboration between experts in epigenetics, genomics and bioinformatics at the Earlham Institute and cutting-edge practitioners in machine learning at the John Innes and IBM Research who will co-supervise the project. There will also be the opportunity for a 3-month placement at IBM Research based at the Daresbury Scitech Labs near Warrington.

We strongly encourage applications from biologists interested in computational biology or computer scientists interested in applied problem solving.