Dr Ir C.T.A. Evelo

Chris Evelo is the founder and head of the department of Bioinformatics - BiGCaT at Maastricht University where he leads an enthusiastic group of researchers and he is a PI in the Maastricht Center for Systems Biology (MaCSBio).

He was trained in biomolecular sciences and his early career was in experimental biochemical toxicology where he also applied physiologically based biokinetic modelling. This, combined with subsequent experiences in nutrition and drug research and his broad interest made him a generalist, with a broad focus on the human interaction with the molecular environment. 

His current research focuses on bioinformatics for integrative systems biology; aiming at a better interpretation of experimental data through integration in data models that build on structuring existing knowledge.

Integrative approaches are multi-faceted, and Chris is involved in many projects related to capturing and processing experimental data. This includes the interoperability approaches underlying such efforts: standards, ontologies, mapping tools and documentation of the origin of the data and methods used (the provenance). He is a co-lead of the interoperability platform of ELIXIR, active in several of its communities, member of the strategic team of the Dutch ELIXIR node, and involved in the development of FAIRification software and approaches coordinated by that node. Chris is one of the authors of the original paper on FAIR guiding principle for scientific data.

The other main aspect of his work is the organization of existing knowledge. His core project for this is WikiPathways, a resource for community curation of biological pathways that originates from collaboration between Chris’s Maastricht group and Alex Pico’s group at UCSF. He is a board member of the Open PHACTS foundation for large-scale semantic web based knowledge structuring of relations between chemicals, gene-products, pathways and diseases, it was developed for drug discovery and repositioning but is useful in many other fields. For pathway analysis, and thereby integration of data and knowledge, Chris’ group developed PathVisio, a modular open source research tool to which different research groups can and do contribute by developing plugins and research applications.  His group developed apps to link pathway analysis to network analysis in Cytoscape and to allow network extension with targeted relationships. To do all that data linking effectively his group developed BridgeDb, a reusable open source software framework and web service that is in the core of Cytoscape and PathVisio. It is also the basis for a semantic web based identifier mapping service used a.o. in the Open PHACTS system. BridgeDb recently became an ELIXIR recommended interoperability resource.

Chris is scientific advisor for the IMI project for translational quantitative systems biology (TransQST) and for two SME’s (Edgeleap and Micelio). He is a.o. governing council and management team member of the nutrigenomics organization NuGO, a member of the micronutrient genomics organization for which he led the IRSES project Microgennet, he is a partner in the H2020 projects Eu-ToxRisk and OpenRiskNet and a work package leader (multi-omics) in the new EJP RD (rare diseases), and in the COST CHARME project for harmonization of standards in biology and a task lead (for mapping) in the IMI project FAIRplus and a member of the JPI ENPADASI that works on the development of a phenotype database that he helped conceptualize and develop.

With regard to training and education Chris is involved in the biomedical sciences and systems biology bachelor and masters programs at Maastricht University, he is a member of the educational committee of the Dutch research school for Bioinformatics and Systems Biology. He collaborates with the ELIXIR training platform and organized various multi-day courses on post-doctoral level. He is the Maastricht PI in the HELIS Academy, on interregional training in data and data-analysis for biomedical companies and organizations that recently started.

Chris’s ORCID is: 0000-0002-5301-3142. A list of publications can be found on Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=2dm_Du0AAAAJ, his Twitter handle is @Chris_Evelo.