Damien Downes

BSc (Hons), MBA Candidate, PhD (Genetics)

Postdoctoral Researcher

How do you fold a genome?

Deciphering Diseases of the Dark Genome

Every one of us carries a unique copy of DNA - known as the genome. Most of the differences in sequence (generally single letter variants) are benign, while others give us our distinct characteristics such as eye and hair colour. Other variants are less harmless, increaing our risk of developing diseases like diabetes and even doubling our chance of dying from COVID-19.

These "risk variants" are generally found in regions of the genome that don't make proteins, sometimes called the dark genome. My research focuses on developing methods to dechipher how risk variants cause disease, then working with collaborators to apply these methods to a range of diseases with an aim of developing new therapies and treatments.