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Liam Bell

Proteomics Coordinator & Domain Expert

What is your role in the DIPLOMICS network?

I am one of the proteomics people in the network. I feel my role has many aspects to it but perhaps the most important is to make sure that the labs and researchers that are involved in proteomics/omics research have co-ordinated input into how we feel DIPLOMICS could improve our network and outputs as a collective.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I have a real opportunity to ensure that we make good choices and position biological based mass spectrometry in a prime position for the inevitable inclusion/increase in omics based research in this field. Particularly in applied research fields requiring some kind of translational outcome where we have seen that multiple streams of omics data can complement each other very well. For example, inborn errors of metabolism may have underlying genetic causes – it’s possible to identify the metabolic dysfunction but by obtaining complementary genomic information it can provide greater insight into the intricate nature of possible genetic causes.

Why is the Omics industry so important in South Africa?

Big data will be the new paradigm underpinning advancements in 4IR, the more we can control how we produce and own our own data as a country – the better the position we will be in to leverage these for our own benefits. And South Africa has abundant and untapped natural resources available to it that we should be discovering more about. Another aspect is that non-communicable diseases are going to hit Africa hard and as we’ve seen in the past, Africa is unique and we need to study these problems from our own unique perspectives in order to identify how best to resolve them – what better way to do this than a systems level approach?

Use an adjective that best describes yourself.


What are your favourite past times?

Quality time with friends and family, sports (hockey, surfing etc) and reading (MASSIVE Terry Pratchett fan).

Describe someone who is an inspiration in your life, and why.

My wife, she is not afraid to look at her flaws and try and improve upon them – this is not something I am good at doing but it’s necessary. She makes me better everyday as a result.

Tell us what your favorite quote or mantra is.

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite” Nelson Mandela. We have a chequered past but we need to work together to improve our collective futures – we are all in this complex system together.

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