John Marioni honoured by prestigious Blavatnik Awards

EMBL-EBI’s Group Leader, John Marioni, has been selected as a finalist in the 2021 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK. Marioni has recently been appointed as EMBL-EBI’s new Head of Research, set to start his new role in March 2021.

John Marioni _ Credit: Carrie Tang

Marioni has been recognised for his pioneering work in single-cell sequencing analysis. His statistical analysis of gene expression patterns in individual cells has led to substantial advances in the field of transcriptomics. Understanding gene expression in single cells could help us decipher disease progression, drug metabolism, ageing and developmental biology.

What is transcriptomics?

Transcriptomics is the study of how our transcriptome—the complete set of RNA transcripts that are produced by the genome, under specific circumstances or in a specific cell. Transcriptomics uses high-throughput methods, such as microarray analysis and RNA sequencing.

Marioni first developed foundational statistical approaches to analyse whole-tissue RNA sequencing data from the liver of various mammalian species. This established the computational foundations for analysing RNA-sequencing data. Subsequently, Marioni built on this to generate foundational statistical tools to interpret single-cell RNA sequencing data, contributing to the revolutionising of the transcriptomics field.

Marioni is also one of the leaders of the Human Cell Atlas, an international consortium, set up with the ambitious goal of creating comprehensive reference maps of all the cells in the human body. He also has a joint appointment at the CRUK Cambridge Institute, within the University of Cambridge.

“The interface between experimental and computational biology is one of the most exciting areas of active research,” says Marioni. “The ability to develop and apply quantitative approaches to help address fundamental biological questions, working closely with outstanding collaborators and all of the wonderful past and present members of my lab, is a huge privilege.”

The 2021 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK received 99 nominations from 49 academic and research institutions across the UK. The Blavatnik Awards in the UK sit alongside their global counterparts, the Blavatnik National Awards and the Blavatnik Regional Awards in the United States and the Blavatnik Awards in Israel, all of which honour and support exceptional early-career scientists.
Find out more

Read a Q&A with John Marioni, in which he discusses his vision for research at EMBL-EBI.

Image Credit: Carrie Tang


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