Ewan Birney

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Ewan Birney is leader of the Birney Research Group at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) outside Cambridge, UK. The group is known for its widely used Ensembl genome browser, and for its research on e.g. sequence alignment tools.[1]

He was educated at Eton College, completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Balliol College, Oxford and did his PhD at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Insitute, under the supervision of Richard Durbin and registered at St John's College, Cambridge.

Before studying at University he completed an internship at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the US. He has contributed to several bioinformatics and computational biology projects including the Pfam database and BioPerl and HMMer toolkits.

2005 Overton Prize Winner by International Society for Computational Biology

"Dr. Ewan Birney of the EMBL European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), was awarded the 2005 Overton Prize in honor of his advocacy of open source bioinformatics, and his generous contributions to the BioPerl community. Perhaps even more important to biology is his leadership of the Ensembl genome annotation project, providing rapid and accurate computational annotations for eukaryotic genomes."[2]

2005 Benjamin Franklin Award in Bioinformatics by Bioinformatics

The 2005 Benjamin Franklin Award in Bioinformatics was awarded to Ewan Birney of the European Bioinformatics Institute. "As expressed by his nominators, Birney has been a significant force in Open Source in Bioinformatics and science. He has been a strong advocate for making genome information freely available to all. His work co-leading the Ensembl project has made high-quality genome annotation available freely over the web, preventing a class system of labs which can and cannot afford to pay subscription fees to proprietary data. The project has worked hard to make the data available in a variety of ways to make the data accessible and easily available for mining. The Ensembl project has been open-source from the outset, enabling researchers and corporations alike to reuse and extend the software system. Birney has been an advocate of open science as well. Along with Sean Eddy, he criticized journal decisions to allow papers to be published without releasing the genome sequence data at the same time. He is also the author of the freely available Wise package of tools, which are important parts of genome annotation pipelines. He serves as a co-leader of the open-source bioinformatics toolkit Bioperl and also co-founded and currently serves as president of the Open Bioinformatics foundation, an organization that support the development of several bioinformatics toolkits."[3]

2003 Francis Crick Lecture award by Royal Society

"The inaugural Francis Crick Lecture was awarded to Dr Ewan Birney, for his leading role in establishing international standards for software used in genome informatics, and in making research data and software openly available to the research community. The lecture, entitled 'Being human: what our genome tells us' took place at the Royal Society on 4 December 2003."[4]

Scientific publications

Sources and notes

  1. Ewan Birney Homepage
  2. International Society for Computational Biology article Overton Prize
  3. Bioinformatics Press release Ewan Birney wins the 2005 Benjamin Franklin Award in Bioinformatics
  4. Royal Society article Recent Crick lectures

Further reading


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