Robert trained as a biochemist and molecular biologist, and has joined Octant to work on developing Deep Mutational Scanning (DMS) approaches to understand the biology of naturally occurring variants and unlock its potential to drive drug discovery.
Robert obtained his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in Roberto Bonasio’s lab, where he worked on developing mass spectrometry-based technologies to identify and characterizeRNA-binding proteins and applying these methods to understand the function of the chromatin regulator Polycomb Repressive Complex (PRC2). During the pandemic he also developed a high-throughput sequencing method using Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) to detect COVID-19 and Influenza from human saliva. Robert was drawn to Octant by its emphas is on ‘rapid empiricism’, underpinned by the converging technologies of inexpensive DNA synthesis and sequencing, and believes these trends will greatly increase our understanding of disease biology in the coming years.
Outside work Robert likes to go hiking, cook for family and friends, and boring himself to sleep with newspaper articles about central bank policy.
Oksuz, O., Henninger, J.E., Warneford-Thomson, R., Zheng, M.M., Erb, H., Overholt, K.J.,Hawken, S.W., Banani, S.F., Lauman, R., Vancura, A., Robertson, A.L., Hannett, N.M., Lee, T.,Zon, L.I., Bonasio, R. & Young, R.A. Transcription factors interact with RNA to regulate genes. bioRxiv, 2022.
Warneford-Thomson, R., Shah, P.P., Lundgren, P., Lerner, J., Morgan, J., Davila, A., Abella,B.S., Zaret, K., Schug, J., Jain, R., Thaiss, C.A. & Bonasio, R. A LAMP sequencing approach for high-throughput co-detection of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus in human saliva. eLife, 2022.
Ren, W., Medeiros, N., Warneford-Thomson, R., Wulfridge, P., Yan, Q., Bian, J., Sidoli, S.,Garcia, B.A., Skordalakes, E., Joyce, E., Bonasio, R. & Sarma, K. Disruption of ATRX-RNA interactions uncovers roles in ATRX localization and PRC2 function. Nature Communications, 2020.
Zhang, Q.§, McKenzie, N.J.§, Warneford-Thomson, R.§, Gail, E.H., Flanigan, S.F., Owen, B.M.,Lauman, R., Levina, V., Garcia, B.A., Schittenhelm, R.B., Bonasio, R. & Davidovich, C. RNA exploits an exposed regulatory site to inhibit the enzymatic activity of PRC2. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 2019.
He, C., Sidoli, S., Warneford-Thomson, R., Tatomer, D.C., Wilusz, J.E., Garcia, B.A. & Bonasio, R. High-Resolution Mapping of RNA-Binding Regions in the Nuclear Proteome of Embryonic Stem Cells. Molecular Cell, 2016.