Welcome to the McInerney Lab Website

The McInerney Research group at School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham is a data-driven research group that uses high-performance computing approaches, innovative software and algorithm development, and large datasets in order to understand the recent and deep evolution of life on the planet.

Prof. McInerney speaking at Carnegie Institution
Prof. McInerney speaking at Carnegie Institution

Machine Learning:

We are using machine learning approaches to understand the predictability of genomes. Certain genes function well together and some do not. This might vary through time and with respect to the external ecosystem. The goal of this work is to develop new approaches for understanding how genomes and pangenomes arise and are maintained, to develop ways of reducing the impact of antibiotic resistance and to generate new kinds of energy-producing organisms.


Our work helps explain the 4.5 billion years of evolutionary processes that generated the living systems we see today. We know only a tiny fraction of the story of life’s evolution. Unseen to the naked eye is a vast network where genetic material is shared, not only between parents and their offspring, but also between organisms that might not be particularly closely related. This is the global pangenome. Our long-term goal is to describe this network, to understand the forces that shape and have shaped it, and to develop knowledge that will enable us to engineer new kinds of life.


We have developed software and methods for testing different phylogenetic models, and for distributing phylogenetic tree searching across a compute network.

We are working on network approaches to define and describe biodiversity.

Our laboratory has four core values.

  • We expect the highest integrity and the most rigorous ethics from everybody in the research group and from everybody that we work with.
  • We are a diverse research group and we expect that everybody is treated with respect.
  • We expect work that is innovative and original.
  • We expect that the primary motivator is yourself and that you bring your drive with you every day.

Why now?

We are living in the golden age of data, and in particular genomic data is being generated at a faster rate than most could have imagined a few years ago. This provides our research group with the opportunity to productively use high performance computing, comparative genomics, phylogenetics, statistics, simulations, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in order to integrate diverse datasets and turn these data into knowledge.

What will we know in 10 years time?

The components of life – protein domains, genes, gene clusters, genomes, communities, the global ecosystem – are inextricably linked in a complex, dynamic network. We will unearth the forces that influence its shape and structure. We will develop methods that predict what happens when it is perturbed (by, say, global warming or the increased presence of antibiotics).

Inclusion, Diversity, Equality and Access (IDEA) declaration:

Science is a diverse pursuit and scientists are diverse.  We do better science when we have more diversity – diversity in thought, diversity in skills, diversity in lived experience. Our lab welcomes and celebrates diversity. We believe in including everybody, and we strive to improve access to scientific research. We recruit students and post-doctoral researchers solely on the basis of their science, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, lifestyle, age, educational background, national origin, religion or physical ability. You will be welcome in our group and we will do our very best to help you to reach your full potential.