Dr David Eccles completed his postgraduate degree in biomedical science at Victoria University of Wellington in 2011. Dr Eccles is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Bioinformatics Research Analyst at The Malaghan Institute. He began his work at the Institute in late 2013 but also collaborates with various scientists around the world.
My main interest is exploring the biological code (DNA) that instructs our bodies how to work and how to respond to our environment. I am particularly fascinated by looking for patterns in DNA (or the absence of patterns), and investigating how those patterns describe organisms and influence biological systems.
The treasure and curse of bioinformatics is that almost every project opens up a new and unexpected area of research. I am excited by the discoveries we make, and have a constant battle with myself to clear my head of finished projects, and concentrate on new tasks and projects that await me.
I work as the glue between biologists and computers, helping with project design, data analysis and result presentation. I support researchers by using computer programs and can even develop custom software solutions for their projects. This work is usually called bioinformatics. It can speed up an analysis to be up to 5-10 times faster and allows researchers to explore existing data in more depth than previously possible. When the scientists I work with are no longer shackled to slow data processing, they are free to spend that time getting creative and expanding their research.
I’ve been a part of the Malaghan Institute for about four years now. The nature of my work means I am usually working on one-off and short term projects, lasting anywhere between a few minutes to a few months.
I work best when I have multiple projects on the go. My two “big” projects at present are looking at mitochondrial transfer in human cells and sequencing the genome of Nippostrongylus brasiliensis (a roundworm parasite important to many biomedical studies).
It is important that I participate in a diverse range of projects like this because I’ve often found that the same programs and methods can be used across quite different areas of research. It is common in science to almost start from scratch when a new project is conceived, but I liken that to collecting more haystacks in the search for needles. With specialised analysis, we can carry out research faster, cheaper and better and fully reap the benefits of our open and accessible research community.
Schalamun M, Nagar R, Kainer D, Beavan E, Rathjen J, Eccles D, Lanfear R, Schwessinger B (2018) Harnessing the MinION: An example of how to establish long-read sequencing in a laboratory using challenging plant tissue from Eucalyptus pauciflora. Mol Ecol Resources 19(1):77-89
Eccles DA, Chandler J, Camberis M, Henrissat B, Koren S, Le Gros G, Ewbank JJ (2018) De novo assembly of the complex genome of Nippostrongylus brasiliensis using MinION long reads. BMC Biol 16(1):6
Chandler J, Camberis M, Bouchery T, Blaxter M, Le Gros G, Eccles DA. (2017) Annotated mitochondrial genome with Nanopore R9 signal for Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. F1000Res.
Stuart S, Benton MC, Eccles DA, Sutherland HG, Haupt LM, Lea RA, Griffiths LR. (2017) Gene-centric analysis implicates nuclear encoded mitochondrial protein gene variants in migraine susceptibility. Mol Genet Genomic Med.
Connor LM, Tang SC, Cognard E, Ochiai S, Hilligan KL, Old SI, Pellefigues C, White RF, Patel D, Smith AA, Eccles DA, Lamiable O, McConnell MJ, Ronchese F. (2017) Th2 responses are primed by skin dendritic cells with distinct transcriptional profiles. J Exp Med.
Ip CL, Loose M, Tyson JR, de Cesare M, Brown BL, Jain M, Leggett RM, Eccles DA, Zalunin V, Urban JM, Piazza P, Bowden RJ, Paten B, Mwaigwisya S, Batty EM, Simpson JT, Snutch TP, Birney E, Buck D, Goodwin S, Jansen HJ, O'Grady J, Olsen HE (2015) MinION Analysis and Reference Consortium: Phase 1 data release and analysis. F1000Res.
Wang J, Moore NE, Deng YM, Eccles DA, Hall RJ. (2015) MinION nanopore sequencing of an influenza genome. Front Microbiol.
Benton MC, Johnstone A, Eccles D, Harmon B, Hayes MT, Lea RA, Griffiths L, Hoffman EP, Stubbs RS, Macartney-Coxson D.(2015) An analysis of DNA methylation in human adipose tissue reveals differential modification of obesity genes before and after gastric bypass and weight loss. Genome Biol.
Tan AS, Baty JW, Dong LF, Bezawork-Geleta A, Endaya B, Goodwin J, Bajzikova M, Kovarova J, Peterka M, Yan B, Pesdar EA, Sobol M, Filimonenko A, Stuart S, Vondrusova M, Kluckova K, Sachaphibulkij K, Rohlena J, Hozak P, Truksa J, Eccles D, Haupt LM, Griffiths LR, Neuzil J, Berridge MV. (2015) Mitochondrial genome acquisition restores respiratory function and tumorigenic potential of cancer cells without mitochondrial DNA. Cell Metab.
Haas BJ, Papanicolaou A, Yassour M, Grabherr M, Blood PD, Bowden J, Couger MB, Eccles D, Li B, Lieber M, Macmanes MD, Ott M, Orvis J, Pochet N, Strozzi F, Weeks N, Westerman R, William T, Dewey CN, Henschel R, Leduc RD, Friedman N, Regev A. (2013) De novo transcript sequence reconstruction from RNA-seq using the Trinity platform for reference generation and analysis. Nat Protoc.
Roxburgh RH, Marquis-Nicholson R, Ashton F, George AM, Lea RA, Eccles D, Mossman S, Bird T, van Gassen KL, Kamsteeg EJ, Love DR. (2013) The p.Ala510Val mutation in the SPG7 (paraplegin) gene is the most common mutation causing adult onset neurogenetic disease in patients of British ancestry. J Neurol.
Benton M, Macartney-Coxson D, Eccles D, Griffiths L, Chambers G, Lea R. (2012) Complete mitochondrial genome sequencing reveals novel haplotypes in a Polynesian population. PLoS One.
Eccles DA, Macartney-Coxson D, Chambers GK, Lea RA.(2012) A unique demographic history exists for the MAO-A gene in Polynesians. J Hum Genet.
Myles S, Lea RA, Ohashi J, Chambers GK, Weiss JG, Hardouin E, Engelken J, Macartney-Coxson DP, Eccles DA, Naka I, Kimura R, Inaoka T, Matsumura Y, Stoneking M. (2011) Testing the thrifty gene hypothesis: the Gly482Ser variant in PPARGC1A is associated with BMI in Tongans. BMC Med Genet.