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School of Environment and Life Sciences

Dr Rachel Brenchley

Lecturer in Genomics and Bioinformatics


I have a BSc (Hons) in Molecular Biology from the University of Manchester. Following my degree I stayed at the University of Manchester to complete an MSc in Bioinformatics and then a PhD also in Bioinformatics. My PhD project involved working on computational methods to classify protein phosphatases and I applied these methods to define the phosphatase family in three protozoan parasite genomes.

During my PhD I became interested in genomics and I went on to work in this area for nearly five years at the University of Liverpool as a postdoctoral research associate. I joined the University of Salford as a Lecturer in 2014.


I teach on core modules as part of four undergraduate degree programmes and two Masters programmes. I am Module Leader for Level 4 Molecules to Microbes where I teach introductory biochemistry topics. At Level 5 I teach genomics and bioinformatics in the Clinical & Molecular Genetics and Molecular Genetics modules and also in the Level 7 Genomics module.

I teach plant genomics in Level 7 Green Biotechnology. I have small group tutorials for the Level 4 Study Skills and Level 5 Biological Research Skills and provide Level 6 research projects in bioinformatics sequence analysis. 

Research Interests

I am interested in studying how genomes evolve and how adaptive traits arise. My interest is particularly in how the genome sequences of related species differ at the whole-genome level, and I study the contribution of events, such as, whole-genome duplications, and gene family expansion/loss, to the emergence of phenotypic traits.

My research has mostly focussed on plants but I am interested generally in genomic changes within eukaryotes and have also worked with insect, protozoan parasite, and nematode genomes. My expertise is with genome sequencing data and bioinformatics tools to assemble, annotate, and perform comparative genomics analyses between different species. 

Qualifications and Memberships

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP), University of Salford, 2016.

PhD in Bioinformatics, University of Manchester, 2009.

MSc Bioinformatics, University of Manchester, 2005.

BSc (Hons) Molecular Biology, University of Manchester, 2004.

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Snoek B, Sterken M, Bevers R, Volkers R, van 't Hof A, Brenchley R, Riksen J, Cossins A, Kammenga J. “Contribution of trans regulatory eQTL to cryptic genetic variation in C. elegans. BMC Genomics (2017) 18:500.

Gardiner LJ, Bansept-Basler P, Olohan L, Joynson R, Brenchley R, Hall N, O'Sullivan D, Hall A. “Using genic sequence capture in combination with a syntenic pseudo genome to map yellow rust resistance in hexaploid wheat”. The Plant Journal (2016) Vol 87, Issue 4, 403-419.

Thompson OA, Snoek LB, Nijveen H, Sterken MG, Volkers RJM, Brenchley R, van 't Hof A, Bevers RPJ, Cossins AR, Yanai I, Hajnal A, Schmid T, Perkins JD, Spencer D, Kruglyak L, Andersen EC, Moerman DG, Hillier LW, Kammenga JE, Waterston RH. Remarkably Divergent Regions Punctuate the Genome Assembly of the Caenorhabditis elegans Hawaiian Strain CB4856”. Genetics (2015) Jul 200(3): 975-89.

Brenchley R, Spannagl M, Pfeifer M, Barker GLA, D’Amore L, Allen AM, McKenzie N, Kramer M, Kerhornou A, Bolser D, Kay S, Waite D, Trick M, Bancroft I, Gu Y, Huo N, Luo M, Sehgal S, Gill B, Kianian S, Anderson O, Kersey P, Dvorak J, McCombie WR, Hall A, Mayer KFX, Edwards KJ, Bevan M, Hall N. “Analysis of the bread wheat genome using whole-genome shotgun sequencing.” Nature (2012) 491, 705–710.

Winfield MO, Wilkinson PA, Allen AM, Barker GLA, Coghil JA, Burridge A, Hall A, Brenchley RC, D’Amore L, Hall N, Bevan M, Richmond T, Gerhardt D, Jeddeloh JA, Edwards KJ. “Targeted resequencing of the allohexaploid wheat exome.” Plant Biotechnol J. (2012) 10:6, 733-742.

Allen AM, Barker GL, Berry ST, Coghill JA, Gwilliam R, Kirby S, Robinson P, Brenchley RC, D’Amore R, McKenzie N, Waite D, Hall A, Bevan M, Hall N, Edwards KJ. “Transcript-specific, single-nucleotide polymorphism discovery and linkage analysis in hexaploid bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.).  Plant Biotechnol J. (2011) 9:9, 1068-1099.

Wolstencroft K, Brenchley R, Tabernero L, Stevens R. “Analyzing and classifying protein family data using OWL reasoning.” In “Data mining in biomedicine using ontologies.” Edited by Popescu M and Xu D, (2009).

Brenchley R, Tariq H, McElhinney H, Szöor B, Huxley-Jones J, Stevens R, Matthews K, Tabernero L “The TriTryp phosphatome: analysis of the protein phosphatase catalytic domains.” BMC Genomics. (2007) Nov 26, 8:434.