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Robi Tacutu, Ph.D.

Robi Tacutu
Group: Systems Biology of Aging
Department: Bioinformatics & Structural Biochemistry

Group leader

Research interests: Biology/genetics of ageing, longevity and age-related diseases; Prediction of single/multi longevity regulators; Biomarker profiling for healthcare; Bioinformatics; Genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics; Systems biology; Network biology; Computational biology; Synthetic biology (gene circuit design)

Currently working on

Robi's group is currently studying the relationships between OMIC changes and genetic interventions, pertaining to the field of ageing research. In more detail, the group is using bioinformatic, network biology and machine learning techniques, to investigate genomic, transcriptomic, epigenomic and proteomic data. Applying these methods to learn from the changes that occur with age and from the differences between long- and short-lived mutants, the group aims to develop better ways to predict multi-genetic interventions that can prolong lifespan. Currently the group is focusing on validating its methods for the model organism C. elegans.

Biography

A thorough, analytical and curiosity-driven scientist, with a multidisciplinary background in biology and computer science, Robi received his BSc in computer science from the University Politehnica Bucharest, and his MSc in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Bucharest. He has a long-term commitment and interest in the field of biogerontology (since 2005) and received his PhD in 2013 from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in the lab of Prof. Vadim Fraifeld. His thesis was on an ageing-related topic: studying the relationships between aging and age-related diseases with the use of bioinformatics and network biology approaches, and developing computational methods to predict novel genetic determinants of longevity.

Robi continued his research as a postdoc (2011-2015) at the University of Liverpool, in the Integrative Genomics of Ageing Group, led by Dr. Joao Pedro de Magalhaes. Here, he had a role in developing and curating the Human Ageing Genomic Resources collection of databases relevant to ageing research, and was later awarded a EU FP7 Marie Curie fellowship for developing and interrogating an integrated model of ageing to identify causal relationships between hormonal changes and gene expression changes.

Since 2016, Robi leads the Systems Biology of Aging Group (a group of more than 15 people) at the Institute of Biochemistry and focuses on using computational methods in conjunction with large screening datasets to understand the genetic, cellular, and molecular mechanisms behind ageing, longevity and age-related diseases.

Robi has expertise in Biology of Ageing, Bioinformatics, Systems Biology, Network Biology, and Synthetic Biology.

Papers

Year
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Grants

Gerontomics: Multi-omics prediction system for prioritization of gerontological interventions 2016-2021
Acronym: Gerontomics
Project director: Robi Tacutu

Starting 02.09.2016, the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy is implementing the project “Multi-omics prediction system for prioritization of gerontological interventions”, co-funded through European Fund for Regional Development, in accordance with the funding contract signed by the Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research. The total funding for the project is 8.524.757,50 lei, of which 8.502.557,50 lei represent non-reimbursable funding. The project’s duration is 48 months.

Microsoft Azure Research 2017-2018
Acronym: ML for Aging Research
Project director: Robi Tacutu

The Systems Biology of Aging team is grateful for the "Microsoft Azure for Research" sponsorship awarded to our group. We have received cloud computing resources worth the equivalent of 20,000$ credits, and this has greatly helped us to speed up some of our research projects.

Impact of Early life MetaBolic and psychosocial strEss on susceptibility to mental Disorders; from converging epigenetic signatures to novel targets for therapeutic intervention 2019-2022
Acronym: EMBED
Project director: Robi Tacutu

Starting 01.06.2019, the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy is implementing the EMBED project, funded by UEFISCDI (contract 103, from 01.06.2019), through the ERA-NET COFUND-NEURON III grant call. The project aims to assess the shared molecular links between pre- and post-natal, metabolic and psychosocial stress, and the risks of depression later in life, and its duration will be 36 months.