Dr Robert Power

Junior Research Fellow in Genetics

Dr Robert Power is a Sir Henry Wellcome postdoctoral fellow at the Big Data Institute (Oxford) and the Africa Health Research Institute (UCL/Durban).

Rob’s main research interest is the application of statistical tools to the viral genomes in order to identify the underlying genetic variants that control infectiousness and transmission. Genomics offers a powerful tool to rapidly understand the biology of viral transmission and identify drug/vaccine targets, which particularly useful in the response to emerging viral epidemics.

Rob received his PhD in statistical genetics from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, where his work focused on understanding the aetiology of psychiatric disorders. This included work on how evolution has shaped human behavior, the overlap between psychiatric disorders and healthy human behavior, and how genetics can be used as a biological basis of disease classifications. During this time, he built a wide range of experience working with different genetic data and statistical tools, with secondments at UCLA, the Karolinska Institute, deCODE Genetics, the Queensland Brain Institute, and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

After his PhD, Rob switched focus to infectious disease, in particular HIV, and moved to the Wellcome Trust Africa Centre for Population Health (now the Africa Health Research Institute). Here, he focused on how the methods from human genetics can be applied to viruses and other micro-organisms. This included methods development and their application to issues such as HIV drug resistance and viral load/infectiousness. Rob is now expanding on this work as part of his fellowship at Oxford, with an additional focus on the combined analysis of both the viral and human genomes.

He was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship at the Hall in May 2017.