We call phyloinformatics the approach that uses computational intelligence and phylogenetics to create an evolutionary framework to integrate multi-omics data to answer practical questions in One Health.
One Health is the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain optimal human, animal, plant, and environmental health. Although One Health is not new, the Phyloinformatics Lab recognizes that it has become more critical in recent years. Factors that make One Health essential include the increased risk of zoonotic diseases due to contact between humans and wild animals. Additional factors are urbanization, destruction of natural habitats, climate change, and the moving of people and animals due to travel and global trade, among other factors.
In response to the continued increase in the risk of zoonoses, our lab has two main lines of research. First, investigate new pathogens’ emergence, evolution, and spread, focusing on preventing and treating infectious diseases. Second, create computational and molecular solutions to make data from biorepositories more readily available to biomedical research.
Our reserach can be divided into four components. First, facilitating resource-efficient molecular analyses and making data from museum biorepositories more readily available to biomedical research. Second, improving genomic resources of non-model organisms with a focus on animals of particular medical or environmental interest. Third, developing phylogenetics solutions, especially if they can help improve our understanding of zoonosis. Fourth, integrating “omics” technologies (e.g., genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, and proteomics) to study complex host-pathogen systems in the context of One Health.
We produce bioinformatics solutions tailored to the needs of phylogeneticists and museum biorepositories. Our toolbox is diverse. For example, our genomic resources count on dedicated gene annotators for various targets, from flatworms’ mitogenomes to viruses’ genomes. Furthermore, our phylogenetic resources provide different solutions for phylogenetics result analysis, including character categorization and branch support analysis.
Dr. Denis Jacob Machado leads the Phyloinformatics Lab. The lab was inaugurated in August 2022 as part of UNC Charlotte’s CIPHER research center. Our collaborators include brilliant researchers from different colleges at UNC Charlotte. In addition, we also have collaborators from other institutions in the USA, Brazil, Colombia, and more. In addition, we are always happy to meet new collaborators, prospective students, and potential postdocs.
We stand on a tripod of research, teaching, and outreach. Whenever possible, we post about recent developments in our lab and get involved in community outreach. Keep posted about our papers, talks, posters, classes, and more on this website.
The Phyloinformatics Lab promotes equity, equality, diversity, and inclusion in STEM, other academic fields, and the industry. We strive to be a safe and inclusive workspace by creating a sense of community and providing multiple ways for our team to learn, communicate, succeed, and connect new ideas to goals.
We recently filled a postdoc position, but we welcome emails inquiring us about future opportunities and potential collaborations. Additionally, we are always interested in working with the talented UNC Charlotte’s graduate students through the Master’s program in Bioinformatics or the Ph.D. program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing and Informatics. Click here to learn more about these graduate programs. UNC Charlotte’s undergrad students are also encouraged to reach out if they wish to know more about research projects and opportunities in the Phyloinformatics Lab.