26.05.2015 - 09:00

EMBL Research Scientist Simon Anders joins FIMM 

FIMM welcomes Dr. Simon Anders as a new FIMM-EMBL Group Leader. His work will focus on bioinformatical and biostatistical methods for molecular medicine, especially for integrating genomics and other big data assays with clinical research methods. Dr. Anders’ is especially interested developing algorithms that will improve the use of high-throughput sequencing techniques in biomedical research and clinical practice, e.g., for the use of single-cell transcriptomics in cancer research.

Simon Anders is a physicist by training. Already during his PhD project in quantum information theory he became more and more interested in biology and decided to change his research scope from this purely theoretical field to the more readily applicable field of bioinformatics. He has worked as a Marie Curie RTN Fellow at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), Hinxton, in the research group of Dr. Wolfgang Huber for two years. During this time, the first RNAseq datasets became available. Dr. Anders realized that there were no good methods for analyzing such data and finding differently expressed genes and developed a tool called DESeq, which became widely popular and highly cited. After the EBI period, he has worked at EMBL Heidelberg, first as a Postdoctoral fellow and then as a Research Scientist.

Dr. Anders will start his research activities at FIMM in September 2015. As a part-time employee, he will, however, already spend some time at FIMM over summer. At first, Dr. Anders' research at FIMM will focus on cancer studies involving multi-omics characterization of patient samples. Drawing together experiences from several institutes performing such studies (including FIMM in Helsinki, EMBL in Heidelberg and NCMM in Oslo), he will research new ways to integrate high-throughput sequencing data in the workflows. Another focus will be on interactive data visualization to give oncologists new tools for a hands-on exploration of the raw data. Collaboration with Dr. Caroline Heckman’s research group will allow to test and refine these methods. FIMM’s Grand Challenge, Individualized Systems Medicine (ISM) in cancer will thus benefit from Dr. Anders’ expertise.  Dr Anders will also continue his work on single-cell transcriptomics, now in collaboration with Research Director Janna Saarela to apply these methods in immunology.

“We are delighted to welcome Simon Anders as a new EMBL group leader to FIMM. Simon is a computer science specialist with a strong experience and track record in bioinformatics and in data integration. He is famous for his RNA-Seq data analysis method that is in used in hundreds of laboratories across the world. As FIMM produces and stores many different types of omics data, I am sure that Simon will find many exciting collaborators at FIMM. Simon will also bridge FIMM science towards mathematics and computer science, and will collaborate with e.g. HIIT scientists,” said FIMM’s Director, Professor Olli Kallioniemi.

Dr. Anders will recruit a PhD Student and a Postdoctoral Researcher to his team.

“I am impressed with FIMM’s ability to attract highly qualified young researchers from all over the world, but also with the wide and diverse curriculum of Helsinki University’s famous computer science department. This will help enormously with recruiting the right people for my new group.”, said Dr. Anders.

“I am looking for enthusiastic researchers who are able to think about data in a quantitative manner. Good computational scientists come from many disciplines, from natural sciences over mathematics and computer science to engineering, and so I am looking forward to assembling a group with as diverse backgrounds as possible”, he continued.


Last updated: 26.05.2015 - 11:58