Professor Claude Chelala

Professor Claude Chelala

BSc, MSc, DEA, PhD
Centre: Molecular Oncology
Professor of Bioinformatics, Co-Director, Centre for Computational Biology, LSI
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QMUL Directory

My research interests lie in the area of computational and integrative bioinformatics.

Current research projects are focused in next-generation sequencing/array data analysis/integration, databases and software development.


Research Details

My research is very collaborative with clinical and basic scientists at the SMD and BCI.

An important aspect of my research work involves designing and setting up platforms and tools for the organisation, integration and mining of complex –omics data sets.

Current work covers pancreatic cancer (PED) and breast cancer (BCCTBbp). Both platforms are developed as built-in accompaniment to clinical tissue banks to maximise research output.

A closely related platform is being implemented to host the SEARCHBreast data relating to in vivo models of breast cancer. I also have designed and implemented the SNPnexus tool, which offers a better understanding and interpretation of the functional role of genetic variations in the sequenced genomes.

I am interested in studying the Field cancerisation in breast cancer working very closely with Prof Louise Jones. We are collecting samples of apparently normal tissue from set distances away from a breast cancer in order to generate signatures that identify morphologically normal but genetically altered breast tissue that could be applied for more tailored therapy (ensuring excision of genetically altered tissue at surgery), risk assessment and early detection. This project will use high-throughput sequencing and computational genomics applied to a unique cohort of patient tissue samples.

In addition, my computational work covers large-scale analysis of common/specific alteration signatures in human cancers in order to identify cancer-causing genes, -related molecular pathways as well as new biomarkers for novel diagnostics or screening in cancer.

With Prof Conrad Bessant, I co-lead the computational biology theme for the new Life Science Initiative (LSI) at QMUL to facilitate the development of a state-of-the-art computational biology research at LSI.



In 2002, I was awarded a PhD in Radiation Biology from Paris-Sud University and a degree in Structural Bioinformatics from Paris Descartes University. My first post-doctoral experience at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) involved the development of novel tools to gather information for automated analysis of genome maps and distribution study of the disease-related genes.

In 2004, I joined the Pasteur Institute in Paris to work on large-scale analysis of genetic variation, integration with clinical data and the association with type 1 diabetes. I worked on developing tools to transfer, integrate and analyse the genetic, genomic and proteomic data. My later studies have centred on cancer research.

In 2006, Funded by Cancer Research UK, I joined Barts Cancer Institute. Research in this environment is very collaborative and my group interacts with clinical and basic scientists across the Barts & The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.


  • Breast Cancer Campaign
  • Barts and The London Charity
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund
  • The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs)
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
  • Pancreatic Cancer Action

Key Publications

Cutts RJ; Guerra A; Gadaleta E; Dayem Ullah AZ; Chelala C. BCCTBbp: The Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank bioinformatics portal. (2014) Nucleic Acids Research. 2015;43(Database issue):D831-6. PMID: 25332396

Haider S, Wang J, Nagano A, Desai A, Arumugam P, Dumartin L, Fitzgibbon J, Hagemann T, Marshall JF, Kocher HM, Crnogorac-Jurcevic T, Scarpa A, Lemoine NR, Chelala C. A multi-gene signature predicts outcome in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. (2014) Genome Medicine, 6(12): 105. 25587357

Dayem Ullah, AZ, Cutts RJ, Ghetia M, Gadaleta E, Hahn S, Crnogorac-Jurcevic T, Lemoine NR, Chelala C. The Pancreatic Expression Database: Recent Extensions and Updates. (2014) Nucleic Acids Research, 1,42(1):D944-9. 24163255

Dayem Ullah AZ, Lemoine NR, Chelala C. A practical guide for the functional annotation of genetic variations using SNPnexus. (2013) Briefings in Bioinformatics, 14(4):437-47. 23395730

Further Publications

For additional publications, please click here.

My research interests lie in the area of computational and integrative bioinformatics.

Current research projects are focused in next-generation sequencing/array data analysis/integration, databases and software development.


External Activities

  • Editorial Board: Journal of Pathology, Database
  • Visiting Associate Professor, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  • Member of the Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank Advisory Council
  • Member of the Health Sciences and Biology Grant Panel, Research Council of Norway (RCN)


We have vacancies in the group - please contact me for further information.

See other researchers working on:

Bioinformatics Breast Pancreas
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