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Robert Amess

Robert Amess

Data Processing Engineer

Professional Services role

I work with Benjamin Schuster-Böckler and his group to develop pipelines for streamlining the processing of next-generation sequencing data within the Institute. The goal is to ensure consistent processing from raw machine output to analysis-ready data files using state-of-the-art tools. Future work will also include building a database with a web interface for capturing project-relevant metadata and managing the approval flow that should precede each sequencing project.


I studied at the University of Birmingham, gaining BSc, MSc and PhD degrees in chemistry. For my PhD I developed methods for synthesising chromogenic, fluorescent and bioluminescent substrates for use in enzyme assays. I have since worked in a research environment within the biosciences, moving back and forth between academia and industry. 

In the earlier years of my career I held post-doc positions at the universities of Birmingham, Cambridge and Oxford as well as at the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, London. Working as more of a biochemist than a chemist, I learnt and used techniques in protein separation, characterization and quantitation, tissue culture and in vivo radio-labelling of proteins, applying these to signal transduction and apoptosis. During my first post-doc, I acquired experience in programming for image analysis, which took advantage of having studied computer science as a subsidiary subject in my first year as an undergraduate.

In industry, I worked for Shandon Southern Products, Oxford GlycoSciences (OGS, an early University of Oxford spin-out) and Oxford Biotherapeutics (OBT). At OGS, I played a key role in establishing their proteomics platform, which incorporated my design for a second dimension electrophoresis tank, which I had designed and had built while a post-doc in Oxford and subsequently used as a post doc in Cambridge. At OGS, I also contributed to the development of proprietary software for image analysis of 2D gel scans and established and managed a team of curators applying this to a variety of sample types and sources, including plant, microorganism and human: the latter covering many disease areas including, of course, cancer. While at OBT, I transitioned from analysis of 2D gel images to mass spec-based proteomics data and also studied part-time at Oxford to complete an MSc in bioinformatics in 2010. Since then, I have held fixed-term contracts as a biostatistician at the University of Cambridge, working with mass spec and microarray proteomics data from both preclinical and patient samples in studies relating to various neuropsychiatric disorders, and later in a dual role as a statistician/data manager at the Botnar Research Centre, University of Oxford, within a rheumatology clinical research team. 

In addition, from 1993, I was a committee member for the British Electrophoresis Society and held offices as honorary secretary and web master. When the society re-formed as the British Society for Proteome Research ( and gained charity status, I became one of its founding trustees and directors and continued as a committee member and web master until 2014.

Recent publications

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