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Dr Peter D Ashton
Head of Bioinformatics Lab




2005 - Head of Bioinformatics Lab  Technology Facility, Department of Biology, University of York
2004 - 2005  Post-Doctoral Fellow University of York
2004 Visiting Researcher Pathogen Sequencing Unit, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge
2001 - 2004 Post-Doctoral Fellow University of York
2001 PhD University of York
1997 BSc (Hons) Molecular Cell Biology Department of Biology, University of York



My principal role in the Department is to support other research groups which need to use bioinformatics techniques as part of their work. This support can be anything from assisting with database searching or multiple sequence alignments up to construction of comprehensive databases of annotated DNA and protein sequences.

My main research interests concern the storage and representation of biological data, using non-relational models. Almost all sequence data is stored in relational databases, such as the major repositories at GenBank and UniProt and species-specific database like our own AphiDBase. The relational model is powerful, but rather inflexible and prone to become excessively complex when new data or new types of data need to be stored into an existing database.

Newer database technologies are emerging which are designed to be flexible and to store arbitrary data items, without becoming overly complex, or losing performance as the amount of data increases. They also store metadata which describes not just the data that is stored, but how they relate to each other. These "semantic" data models, such as the RDF system developed to describe resources available on the World Wide Web, are attractive alternatives to relational models for storing a wide range of data types, from traditional sequence data to microarray and proteomics results.


Selected publications

Jang-Lee, J., Curwen, R.S., Ashton, P.D., Tissot, B., Mathieson, W., Panico, M., Dell, A., Wilson, R.A. & Haslam, S.M. (2007) Glycomic analysis of Schistosoma mansoni egg and cercarial secretions Molecular and Cellular Proteomics : In press

Castro-Borges, W., Cartwright, J., Ashton, P.D., Braschi, S., Guerra Sa, R., Rodrigues, V., Wilson, R.A. & Curwen, R.S. (2007) The 20S proteasome of Schistosoma mansoni: a proteomic approach Proteomics 7(7): 1065-1075

Wilson, R.A., Ashton, P.D., Braschi, S., Dillon, G.P., Berriman, M. & Ivens, A.C. (2007) 'Oming in on Schistosomes: propects and limitations for post-genomics Trends in Parasitology 23(1): 14-20

Dillon, G.P., Feltwell, T., Skelton, J., Ashton, P.D., Coulson, P.S., Wilson, R.A. & Ivens, A.C. (2006) Microarray analysis identifies genes preferentially expressed in the lung schistosomulum of Schistosoma mansoni International Journal for Parasitology 36(1): 1-8

Braschi, S., Curwen, R.S., Ashton, P.D., Verjovsky-Almeida, S. & Wilson, R.A. (2006) The tegument surface membranes of the human blood parasite Schistosoma mansoni: a proteomic analysis after differential extraction Proteomics 6(5): 1471-1482

Curwen, R.S., Ashton, P.D., Sundaralingam, S. & Wilson, R.A. (2006) Identification of novel proteases and immunomodulators in the secretions of schistosome cercariae that facilitate host entry Molecular and Cellular Proteomics 5: 835-844

Schmitz, S., C.J. Schankin, H. Prinz, R.S. Curwen, P.D. Ashton, L.S.D. Caves, R.H.A. Fink, J.C. Sparrow, P.J. Mayhew, and C. Veigel (2003) Molecular Evolutionary Convergence of the Flight Muscle Protein Arthrin in Diptera and Hemiptera Molecular Biology and Evolution  20(12): 2019-2033


Contact details

Dr Peter D Ashton
Department of Biology (Area 15)
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 328808