Dr Rodney Lea (PhD)

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Associate Professor Genome Informatics

1998    Bachelor Health Science (Hons), Griffith University

2002   PhD (Statistical Genetics), Griffith University


I am a bioinformatic scientist with over 20 years’ experience in research aimed at identifying molecular genetic factors that play a role in the susceptibility, pathogenesis and treatment response of human disease. My specialist expertise lies in the field of statistical and computational genomics. I have a particular interest in developing and applying intelligent algorithms to analysing large and multidimensional “omics” data sets (eg. genome, transcriptome, epigenome) to discover signatures that explain the systems biology of complex diseases (eg. multiple sclerosis and chronic kidney disease). I am currently Head of Computational Genomics at the Genomics Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology and am an adjunct researcher at the Hunter Medical Research Institute, University of Newcastle. I also currently convene several bioinformatics courses for undergraduate and Masters degrees at QUT.

Since completing my PhD at Griffith University in 2002, I have gained extensive experience in conducting end-to-end genomic and medical research studies that require biostatistical and bioinformatics expertise. This includes conception of innovative study designs, sample size and power calculations, statistical methods development and applied data analysis, as well as critical interpretation of results and write up of findings for publication. I have led my own research projects (eg. pharmocogenetics of smoking and indigenous population genetics) and I have acted as a collaborator on a wide variety of other studies (eg. epigenetics of MS and obesity). I have developed bioinformatics tools and algorithms for genomics (NGS variant calling ), transcriptomics (eQTL mapping) and epigenetics (cell deconvolution). I have also been employed as a consultant to Pharma and Biotech industry on health research projects requiring bioinformatics and biostatistics expertise (eg. Novartis, Blackmores, VariantBio).

My research efforts to date have led to >220 co-authored publications – many in high impact journals such as Nature, American Journal of Human Genetics, PLoS Genetics, Genome Biology (Citations = 7011, H index = 45). I was the recipient of the prestigious CJ Martin Research Fellow award from NHMRC in 2003 and have since attracted >$13 million in grant funding from agencies including NHMRC, ARC, NIH. I have been an academic employee at 4 different universities in Australia and New Zealand and have developed and delivered undergraduate and postgraduate courses in bioinformatics, biostatistics and research methods.  I have supervised 17 PhD students and 25 Masters and Honours students through to completion. I have been special editor of the journals Bioinformatics and Gene and a regular reviewer for several journals (Epigenetics, AJHG). I have sat on multiple organising committees including GeneMappers, ANZGene, BigBiology and Bioinformatics and eResearch uplift at QUT.