Chris Ponting is our SciBar speaker for January 2015 and a Professor of Genomics at the University of Oxford and group leader in the MRC Functional Genomics Unit.
[WHO.IS] Professor Chris Lintott by Amanda Coutts, January 7th 2015
Chris Ponting is Professor of Genomics in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Genetics at the University of Oxford, where he is also the director of the MRC Computational Genomics Analysis and Training Centre. The Ponting group takes advantage of large DNA, RNA and epigenetic data sets, with evolution, to decipher the functions of genes and genomes in health and disease. You can find more about Chris and his research here: http://www.dpag.ox.ac.uk/team/group-leaders/chris-ponting. Chris will be our SciBar speaker Wed 21st January, 2015 when he will talk about: In your DNA – the evolutionary journey of your genome. What are you working on at the moment?
I am working with others in Europe to ensure that all scientists have access to desperately-needed training opportunities.
What led you to become a scientist?
Curiosity, stubbornness and a lack of imagination about what else I could do.
What one thing should scientists be doing to make the public more aware/interested/engaged in science?
Listening to what the public thinks is important or interesting. If you weren’t/couldn’t be a scientist, what would you like to do? Archaeology!
If money was not an object (and neither were metrics) what would you work on?
Disrupting each and every one of the thousands of “dark matter” genes we all have in our cells, whose function we currently have no idea.
What do you think has been the most significant (or best/worst) scientific advancement in the last 10 years?
Best: The ease by which we can now experimentally tinker with the DNA of cells in a dish.
Worst: Cheap and easy sequencing of DNA, which now means that often there are insufficient hours in the day to understand what the DNA results actually mean.
What one piece of technology could you not live without?
Easy: the computer, or sequencing machines. (Although whimsically I would hope that I could live, say on a desert island, without any technology.)
Tell us about a book that you have read recently that you would recommend?
“Life and Fate” by Vasily Grossman. A wide-ranging critique of devastating compromises made by individuals in the old Soviet Union during WWII.
How do you relax?
By gently teasing my family.
Details of Chris' SciBar can be found here: http://www.oxfordscibar.com/january-2015.html