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Dr Djenifer Kappel – the CIUK 2022 Jacky Pallas Memorial Award Winner.

2 Rhagfyr 2022

CIUK 2022 Jacky Pallas Memorial Award Winner

Dr Djenifer Kappel, a researcher from the Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics at Cardiff University was recently announced as the winner of the Computing Insight UK (CIUK) 2022 Jacky Pallas Award.

Dr. Djenifer Kappel is a Brazilian Early Career Researcher currently working as a Post-doctoral Research Associate with Dr. Antonio Pardiñas. Over the last 10 years she’s been interested in the biological underpinnings of mental illness and the use of bioinformatics and statistical genetics in their discovery.

As a user of the ARCCA maintained HPC service, “Hawk”, her current research is based on understanding how genetics can predispose us to psychiatric disorders and impact on their treatment and management.

Dr Kappel’s presentation delivered at this year’s CIUK 2022 event was entitled “The genomic basis for precision medicine in treatment-resistant schizophrenia".

The presentation captured in part the computational-based research undertaken within the supercomputing Wales project, scw1793, “PATRON: Pharmacogenomics of Antipsychotic Treatment and Response”. Tied to Dr. Pardiñas’ Academy of Medical Sciences "Springboard" award (ref: SBF005\1083), the project is using data from the largest cohort of individuals with treatment-resistant schizophrenia linked to genomic information in the world, currently held by the Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University. Analysis of this data (genome-wide markers and whole-exome sequences) looks to detect genetic variants that can impact how individuals metabolise and respond to an antipsychotic medication called clozapine, such as variants affecting the activity of enzymes that metabolise clozapine, making their action faster or slower than average. The aim of this project is essentially to help us understand whether genetics can be used to tailor clozapine treatment, widening access to the drug, making it easier to deliver the correct dose and reducing the incidence of side effects.

By way of background, Computing Insight UK (CIUK) is the leading UK conference and exhibition for supercomputing and associated science organised by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). CIUK 2022 took place at Manchester Central Convention Complex on Thursday 1 and Friday 2 December. The theme for the conference this year was "Sustainable HPC" with sub-themes including "Sustainable Computer and Data Centres", "Sustainability and Systems Administration", "Software Engineering to Improve Code Performance" and "Industry Perspective on Sustainability".

​The conference included an exhibition of the latest hardware and software releases plus a full, two day programme of presentations and a series of parallel breakout sessions. There was a poster competition, the third instalment of the CIUK Student Cluster Challenge, plus of course, our focus here – the conference’s annual Jacky Pallas Memorial Award.

The late Jacky Pallas was a true pioneer in High Performance Computing in the UK. Now in its fourth year, the CIUK Jacky Pallas Award highlights the work of an early career researcher rewarding the winner with a slot in the main programme at the UK’s primary HPC conference, CIUK.  Researchers were nominated for this award by their supervisors to deliver a presentation that highlights the impact of a project that they’ve been working on.

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