Bill earned the class prize on completing his honours degree in Molecular & Cellular Biology at the University of Glasgow, and remained there to complete a PhD in Biochemistry. While at Glasgow he lost his brother to muscular dystrophy, prompting him to seek a research role in neuromuscular disease. As a post-doctoral research associate at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC, Bill focused on cell models of muscle disease and emerging computational techniques in functional genomics. Thanks to a research fellowship from the charity Duchenne Ireland, he moved to the Institut de Myologie, in Paris, France, affiliated to the Sorbonne Universities, where he became project leader in bioinformatics before moving to Ulster.
Current Role and Research Interests
In his current role as lecturer in Bioinformatics at the Northern Ireland Center for Stratified Medicine, Bill uses computational approaches to understand and treat pathology at the molecular level. He works closely with his partner, Stéphanie Duguez, who leads the neuromuscular research team. Together they have a major focus on Motor Neurone Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), where they have identified abnormalities in the behaviour of ALS patient's muscle cells, including the secretion of microscopic structures called exosomes that may be responsible for some or all of the motor neuron death in ALS, and could potentially be targeted by drugs to treat the disease.
Bill was keynote speaker at the International Symposium on Integrative Bioinformatics 2016 (Bielefeld, Germany), and has been an invited speaker at international meetings in the UK, USA, and Ukraine.
He is creator of the SysMyo resource (https://sys-myo.com)
Bill is involved with teaching on both the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Personalized Medicine programs.
He currently coordinates two modules:
- In Silico Genomic Proteomic & Metabolomic Analyses Methods (BIO535)
- Clinical Research Project (BIO541)
He also lectures in the following modules:
- Biomedical Informatics (BIO541 & BIO833)
- Disease & Treatment (BIO126)
- Genetic Inheritance and Omic Technologies (BIO124)
- Reviewer for BBSRC, the French Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM), and the ERA-NET call in Personalized Medicine.
- Peer-reviewer for Nucleic Acids Research, PLoS ONE, JoVE, and Proteomics Clinical Applications.
- Member of the board of directors of the Northern Ireland Rare Disease Partnership (NIRDP)