Welcome to Finland, Felipe Simao!

This June we were honoured to welcome a new team member, Felipe Simão, Scientific Project Manager. Felipe is bringing special expertise to Genevia with his knowledge in metagenomics and de-novo sequencing. He is skilled in genome annotation, comparative genome analysis, as well as developing vigorous pipelines for analysing omics data.

Combining two of his main passions, programming and genetics, Felipe has played a role in creating better databases and sequencing software for research. His enthusiasm in genetics arose while he studied for his B.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Science at his home country Brazil, and from there he ended up working with forensics genetics for two years. Soon after noticing that the majority of genetic and genomic research was done computationally, he knew exactly where to head next, as coding had been his long-time hobby. Felipe moved to Switzerland to complete his M.Sc. degree in Bioinformatics and Data Analysis at the University of Geneva. After gaining in-depth knowledge of RNA-sequencing during his thesis research, he continued for a doctoral degree.

Felipe’s PhD consisted of five different projects, and he had the opportunity to work as a one-person bioinformatics unit. During this period, he noticed a clear need for new software to, e.g. perform quality control and studying single-copy orthologs of non-model organisms. The idea of making one himself had born. After being the lead designer and developer for the project, he was able to include a study description of software named BUSCO in his PhD degree.

BUSCO, shortened from Benchmarking Universal Single-Copy Orthologs, became a widely used tool for assessing the completeness of genomes, gene sets and transcriptomes. The software is based on the concept, that there is a large amount of single-copy orthologs (genes arising from the last common ancestor) expected to be present in any species from the same clade. The uses of BUSCO expand from optimising the choice between genome assemblies for a study to creating phylogenetic trees, and from studying universal single copies with or without annotations to generating training datasets for gene prediction programs.

Amongst his spectacular work with BUSCO, he has also been a part of quality controlling and further development of OrthoDB, a database for orthologous genes. OrthoDB’s database is also used within the BUSCO pipeline, providing the sets of orthologs for the software. He has as well collaborated in the i5k consortium by contributing to the genome sequencing of several arthropods.

For the past two years of his career, Felipe has mainly been working in project management at the University of Geneva. He felt that now would be the perfect time to explore life outside the academia world and is excited about the opportunity to work with a variety of fascinating clients and projects at Genevia.

When Felipe is not at the office leading his bioinformatics team, you can find him by the water either stand-up paddling or fishing. He also flies a drone making pretty impressive videos out of it – as you may see below.

Once again, great to have you onboard, Felipe!