Research by Professor Teresa Attwood and her group involves using computers to analyse and understand biological information.
Modern technologies produce data more rapidly than they can be managed and interpreted, meaning that much biomedical information remains unused. Automation has become essential.
The team's focus is on amino acid sequences of proteins, how they can be grouped into families, and what these relationships can tell us about protein function, structure, and evolution.
Professor Attwood and colleagues developed a unique method of sequence analysis known as protein fingerprinting and created a fingerprint database, known as PRINTS, which allows them to diagnose protein family members.
This led to the development of InterPro, the world's first integrated protein family repository.
Professor Attwood has a keen interest in G protein-coupled receptors, proteins that are acted upon by more than half of all prescription drugs. This makes them especially interesting to pharmaceutical companies.
Consequently, the databases and their search tools are used by international pharmaceutical and agrichemical companies, where they have provided insights into disease mechanisms and revealed potential targets for new drug treatments.
"InterPro harmonises worldwide sequence-annotation projects, and provides an efficient platform for transforming raw data into pharmaceutically and clinically useful information."Professor Teresa Attwood / The University of Manchester