Desmond G. Higgins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Des Higgins
Des Higgins ISMB 2015.jpg
Des Higgins speaking at the ISMB conference in 2015.
Born Desmond Gerard Higgins
(1959-07-17) July 17, 1959 (age 59)[1]
Alma mater Trinity College, Dublin (PhD)
Known for
Scientific career
Thesis A numerical taxonomy of the Pterygote insects (1988)
Academic advisors Paul M. Sharp[10][11]

Desmond Gerard Higgins is a Professor of Bioinformatics at University College Dublin,[9][12][13][14] widely known for CLUSTAL,[15] a series of computer programs for performing multiple sequence alignment. According to Nature, Higgins papers describing CLUSTAL[4][5] are among the top ten most highly cited scientific papers of all time.[16][17][18]


Higgins was educated at Trinity College, Dublin[19] where he was awarded a PhD in 1988 for research on numerical taxonomy of Pterygote insects.[20]


Research in the Higgins laboratory[9] focusses on developing new bioinformatics and statistical tools for evolutionary biology. The CLUSTAL program for multiple sequence alignment has been developed in the Higgins lab and the T-Coffee software was initially developed in the lab with by Cedric Notredame. Multivariate statistics are used to analyse microarray data sets and molecular evolution such as the evolution of promoters, introns and non-coding RNA.[12][19]

Awards and honours[edit]

Higgins was elected a Fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) in 2015.[7] In 2018, Higgins received the Benjamin Franklin Award for open access in the life sciences.[8]


  1. ^ Des Higgins at Library of Congress Authorities
  2. ^ Higgins, Desmond G.; Sharp, Paul M. (1988). "CLUSTAL: a package for performing multiple sequence alignment on a microcomputer". Gene. 73 (1): 237–244. doi:10.1016/0378-1119(88)90330-7. PMID 3243435. 
  3. ^ Higgins, Desmond G.; Sharp, Paul M. (1989). "Fast and sensitive multiple sequence alignments on a microcomputer". Bioinformatics. 5 (2): 151–153. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/5.2.151. PMID 2720464. 
  4. ^ a b Thompson, J. D.; Gibson, T. J.; Plewniak, F.; Jeanmougin, F.; Higgins, D. G. (1997). "The CLUSTAL_X windows interface: Flexible strategies for multiple sequence alignment aided by quality analysis tools". Nucleic Acids Research. 25 (24): 4876–4882. doi:10.1093/nar/25.24.4876. PMC 147148Freely accessible. PMID 9396791. 
  5. ^ a b Thompson, J. D.; Higgins, D. G.; Gibson, T. J. (1994). "CLUSTAL W: Improving the sensitivity of progressive multiple sequence alignment through sequence weighting, position-specific gap penalties and weight matrix choice". Nucleic Acids Research. 22 (22): 4673–4680. doi:10.1093/nar/22.22.4673. PMC 308517Freely accessible. PMID 7984417. 
  6. ^ a b Notredame, C. D.; Higgins, D. G.; Heringa, J. (2000). "T-coffee: A novel method for fast and accurate multiple sequence alignment". Journal of Molecular Biology. 302 (1): 205–17. doi:10.1006/jmbi.2000.4042. PMID 10964570. 
  7. ^ a b "ISCB Fellows". International Society for Computational Biology. Archived from the original on 2015-04-15. 
  8. ^ a b "Benjamin Franklin Award -". Retrieved 16 March 2018. 
  9. ^ a b c Desmond G. Higgins publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  10. ^ "Des Higgins, PhD: Computational Biology Tree". Archived from the original on 2017-07-14. 
  11. ^ Sharp, Paul M.; Cowe, Elizabeth; Higgins, Desmond G.; Shields, Denis C.; Wolfe, Kenneth H.; Wright, Frank (1988). "Codon usage patterns in Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Drosophila melanogaster and Homo sapiens; a review of the considerable within-species diversity". Nucleic Acids Research. 16 (17): 8207–8211. doi:10.1093/nar/16.17.8207. ISSN 0305-1048. PMC 338553Freely accessible. PMID 3138659. 
  12. ^ a b "Professor Desmond Gerard Higgins B.A.(Mod), PhD." Dublin: University College Dubin. Archived from the original on 2015-04-05. 
  13. ^ "Des Higgins laboratory". University College Dublin. Archived from the original on 2014-12-14. 
  14. ^ Desmond G. Higgins publications from Europe PubMed Central
  15. ^ Des Higgins: Visualizing Multiple Sequence Alignments on YouTube, Broad Institute
  16. ^ Van Noorden, R.; Maher, B.; Nuzzo, R. (2014). "The top 100 papers: Nature explores the most-cited research of all time". Nature. London. 514 (7524): 550–3. doi:10.1038/514550a. PMID 25355343. 
  17. ^ Gorey, Colm (2014). "Irish professor Des Higgins in top 10 most cited papers of all time". Dublin: Archived from the original on 2015-06-05. 
  18. ^ Desmond G. Higgins publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier. (subscription required)
  19. ^ a b Des Higgins Entry at ORCID
  20. ^ Higgins, Des (1981). A numerical taxonomy of Pterygote insects (PhD thesis). Trinity College, Dublin. OCLC 842505334.