|Born||Janet Maureen McLoughlin
23 May 1949
|Thesis||The conformation of dinucleotides (1975)|
|Other notable students||Sarah Teichmann (postdoc)|
|Spouse||Alan D. Thornton (m. 1970)|
|Children||one son, one daughter|
Dame Janet Maureen Thornton, DBE, FRS FMedSci (born 23 May 1949) is a senior scientist at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). She is one of the world’s leading researchers in structural bioinformatics, using computational methods to understand protein structure and function. She was formerly director of the EBI from October 2001 to June 2015, and played a key role in ELIXIR.
After graduating in physics from the University of Nottingham, Thornton completed a master's degree in biophysics at King's College London, and a PhD in Biophysics at the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London in 1973.
Career and Research
After her PhD, Thornton worked in molecular biophysics with David Chilton Phillips at the University of Oxford. In 1978, she returned to the National Institute for Medical Research, and following that took up to a Fellowship at Birkbeck College, part of the University of London. In 1990 she was appointed Professor and Director of the Biomolecular Structure and Modeling Unit in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University College London and later also was appointed to the Bernal Chair in the Crystallography Department at Birkbeck College.
Thornton was Director of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) from 2001 to 2015, on the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus at Hinxton near Cambridge.  She was an organiser of the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) and European Conference on Computational Biology (ECCB) joint Conference in Glasgow in 2004.
Thornton's work is highly interdisciplinary, interfacing with structural biology, bioinformatics, biological chemistry and chemoinformatics, amongst others. She was an early pioneer in structure validation for protein crystallography, developing the widely used ProCheck software. Together with Christine Orengo, she introduced the CATH classification of protein structure.
From 2008 to 2012, she co-ordinated the four year preparatory phase of the European life sciences data infrastructure ELIXIR. As of 2013 she remains on the ELIXIR board as one of EMBL's scientific delegates. Her research has been funded by the Medical Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the European Union.
Awards and honours
Thornton was elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1999. She became a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) in 2000, a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2003 and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2014. Thornton is an Supernumerary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. Thornton's nomination for the Royal Society reads
|“||Janet Thornton is distinguished for her contribution to understanding protein three-dimensional structure: her perceptive comparative studies have led to the development of algorithms that are used to analyse and make predictions of supersecondary and tertiary sructure. In the 1970s at Oxford (with M J Sternberg) she established clear and useful rules for the handedness of B-a-B units and demonstrated valid methods for prediction of the ordering of strands in B-sheets. At Birkbeck she developed this work to define families of conformations in B-hairpins and aB-links where the structures had previously been assumed at random. She has made the most comprehensive and useful analyses of tertiary interactions of protein sidechains, leading to an atlas that is valuable for protein and ligand design. The atlas is used widely in both academia and the pharmaceutical industry. At University College she has developed studies of sidechain conformation and stereochemistry into a procedure, PROCHECK, for evaluating the quality of experimentally defined protein structures: this is used widely to check protein structures. She has presented a method, known as threading, which gives strong evidence about tertiary structure for a protein sequence which is not obviously homologous to any other known structure.||”|
Her citation on election to the Academy of Medical Sciences reads:
|“||Dame Janet Thornton is Director of the European Bioinformatics Institute and is a world leader in bioinformatics. She has contributed significantly to medical science by increasing our fundamental understanding of the structure of proteins and how they contribute to disease and ageing. The tools and databases she has developed are used worldwide for basic research, in academia and also in pharmaceutical companies.
As Director of the EBI, she has been responsible for strategic developments related to the impact of the life sciences data on medical science. She is actively pursuing the challenge of how to join up biological and medical data in the UK and building tools which will facilitate the exploitation of these data for research and in the clinic.
Thornton was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to bioinformatics. The Times named Thonton number 86 of their "Eureka 100" British scientists in 2010.
|Library resources about
|By Janet Thornton|
- THORNTON, Dame Janet (M.). Who's Who 2015 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription required)
- Janet Thornton's publications indexed by Google Scholar, a free service provided by Google
- Fischer, Julia (2011). Characterisation, Classification and Conformational Variability of Organic Enzyme Cofactors (Ph.D. thesis). University of Cambridge.
- Fischer, J. D.; Holliday, G. L.; Thornton, J. M. (2010). "The CoFactor database: Organic cofactors in enzyme catalysis". Bioinformatics 26 (19): 2496–2497. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btq442. PMC 2944199. PMID 20679331.
- Freilich, Shiri (2006). Towards Relating the Evolution of the Gene Repertoire in Mammals to Tissue Specialisation (Ph.D. thesis). University of Cambridge.
- Freilich, S.; Massingham, T.; Blanc, E.; Goldovsky, L.; Thornton, J. M. (2006). "Relating tissue specialization to the differentiation of expression of singleton and duplicate mouse proteins". Genome Biology 7 (10): R89. doi:10.1186/gb-2006-7-10-r89. PMC 1794571. PMID 17029626.
- Gutteridge, Alex (2005). Understanding the Relationship Between Enzyme Structure and Catalysis (Ph.D. thesis). University of Cambridge.
- Gutteridge, A.; Thornton, J. (2005). "Conformational Changes Observed in Enzyme Crystal Structures upon Substrate Binding". Journal of Molecular Biology 346 (1): 21–28. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2004.11.013. PMID 15663924.
- Hubbard, Simon Jeremy (1991). Analysis of protein-protein molecular recognition (Ph.D. thesis). University College London.
- Hubbard, S. J.; Campbell, S. F.; Thornton, J. M. (1991). "Molecular recognition. Conformational analysis of limited proteolytic sites and serine proteinase protein inhibitors". Journal of Molecular Biology 220 (2): 507–30. doi:10.1016/0022-2836(91)90027-4. PMID 1856871.
- Kahraman, Abdullah (2009). The Geometry and Physicochemistry of Protein Binding Sites and Ligands and their Detection in Electron Density Maps (Ph.D. thesis). University of Cambridge.
- Kahraman, A.; Morris, R. J.; Laskowski, R. A.; Favia, A. D.; Thornton, J. M. (2010). "On the diversity of physicochemical environments experienced by identical ligands in binding pockets of unrelated proteins". Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics 78 (5): 1120–1136. doi:10.1002/prot.22633. PMID 19927322.
- Martinez-Cuesta, Sergio (2014). The Chemistry and Evolution of Enzyme Function: Isomerases as a Case Study (PDF) (Ph.D. thesis). University of Cambridge.
- Martinez Cuesta, S; Furnham, N; Rahman, S. A.; Sillitoe, I; Thornton, J. M. (2014). "The evolution of enzyme function in the isomerases". Current Opinion in Structural Biology 26: 121–30. doi:10.1016/j.sbi.2014.06.002. PMC 4139412. PMID 25000289.
- Pearl, Frances Mary Genevieve (1998). Protein structural analysis : helices and their interactions (Ph.D. thesis). University College London.
- Dr Frances Pearl, University of Sussex
- Pearl, F. M.; Bennett, C. F.; Bray, J. E.; Harrison, A. P.; Martin, N; Shepherd, A; Sillitoe, I; Thornton, J; Orengo, C. A. (2003). "The CATH database: An extended protein family resource for structural and functional genomics". Nucleic Acids Research 31 (1): 452–5. doi:10.1093/nar/gkg062. PMC 165509. PMID 12520050.
- "Publications EMBL-EBI PhD Theses". Archived from the original on 2014-03-04.
- Torrance, James (2007). The geometry and evolution of catalytic sites and metal binding sites (Ph.D. thesis). University of Cambridge.
- Torrance, J. W.; Holliday, G. L.; Mitchell, J. B. O.; Thornton, J. M. (2007). "The Geometry of Interactions between Catalytic Residues and their Substrates". Journal of Molecular Biology 369 (4): 1140–1152. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2007.03.055. PMID 17466330.
- Zeihm, Matthias (2013). Computational biology of longevity in model organisms (Ph.D. thesis). University of Cambridge.
- Ziehm, M; Piper, M. D.; Thornton, J. M. (2013). "Analysing variation in Drosophila aging across independent experimental studies: A meta-analysis of survival data". Aging Cell 12 (5): 917–22. doi:10.1111/acel.12123. PMC 3963443. PMID 23795998.
- Marx, V. (2014). "The Author File: Janet Thornton". Nature Methods 11 (2): 115. doi:10.1038/nmeth.2831.
- Teichmann, S. A.; Rison, S. C.; Thornton, J. M.; Riley, M; Gough, J; Chothia, C (2001). "The evolution and structural anatomy of the small molecule metabolic pathways in Escherichia coli". Journal of Molecular Biology 311 (4): 693–708. doi:10.1006/jmbi.2001.4912. PMID 11518524.
- Crosswell, L. C.; Thornton, J. M. (2012). "ELIXIR: A distributed infrastructure for European biological data". Trends in Biotechnology 30 (5): 241–242. doi:10.1016/j.tibtech.2012.02.002. PMID 22417641.
- "The EMBO Pocket Directory" (PDF). European Molecular Biology Organization. Archived from the original on 2015-03-16.
- Zagorski, N. (2005). "Profile of Janet M. Thornton". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102 (35): 12296–12298. Bibcode:2005PNAS..10212296Z. doi:10.1073/pnas.0505819102. PMC 1194944. PMID 16118281.
- "Professor Dame Janet Thornton DBE FRS FMedSci". Academy of Medical Sciences. Archived from the original on 2015-03-10.
- "Professor Dame Janet Thornton: Director, European Bioinformatics Institute". Archived from the original on 2013-06-09.
- "Great British bioscience pioneers – Professor Dame Janet Thornton". Archived from the original on 2015-02-09.
- Janet Thornton publications from Europe PubMed Central
- Dean, Caroline; Osborn, Mary; Oshlack, Alicia; Thornton, Janet (2012). "Women in Science". Genome Biology 13 (3): 148–201. doi:10.1186/gb4005. PMC 3439960. PMID 22405408.
- "Thornton Research Group Page". Archived from the original on 2011-04-18.
- Search Results for author Thornton JM on PubMed.
- Thornton, Janet (1975). The conformation of dinucleotides (PhD thesis). King's College London.
- Thornton, J. M.; Bayley, P. M. (1976). "Conformational energy calculations for dinucleotide molecules. A systematic study of dinucleotide conformation, with application to diadenosine pyrophosphate". Biopolymers 15 (5): 955–975. doi:10.1002/bip.1976.360150511. PMID 177120.
- Perkins, W. J.; Piper, E. A.; Thornton, J. (1976). "Computer techniques for conformational studies of biological molecules". Computers in Biology and Medicine 6 (1): 23–31. doi:10.1016/0010-4825(76)90034-2. PMID 1253578.
- "Janet Thornton steps down". European Bioinformatics Institute. Archived from the original on 2015-07-03.
- ISMB-ECCB 2004
- Laskowski, R. A.; MacArthur, M. W.; Moss, D. S.; Thornton, J. M. (1993). "PROCHECK: A program to check the stereochemical quality of protein structures". Journal of Applied Crystallography 26 (2): 283. doi:10.1107/S0021889892009944.
- Orengo, C. A.; Michie, A. D.; Jones, S.; Jones, D. T.; Swindells, M. B.; Thornton, J. M. (1997). "CATH – a hierarchic classification of protein domain structures". Structure 5 (8): 1093–1109. doi:10.1016/S0969-2126(97)00260-8. PMID 9309224.
- Sibanda, B. L.; Blundell, T. L.; Thornton, J. M. (1989). "Conformation of beta-hairpins in protein structures. A systematic classification with applications to modelling by homology, electron density fitting and protein engineering". Journal of Molecular Biology 206 (4): 759–77. doi:10.1016/0022-2836(89)90583-4. PMID 2500530.
- Thornton, J. M.; Singh, J; Campbell, S; Blundell, T. L. (1988). "Protein-protein recognition via side-chain interactions". Biochemical Society transactions 16 (6): 927–30. PMID 3224756.
- Blundell, T. L.; Sibanda, B. L.; Sternberg, M. J.; Thornton, J. M. (1987). "Knowledge-based prediction of protein structures and the design of novel molecules". Nature 326 (6111): 347–52. doi:10.1038/326347a0. PMID 3550471.
- Janet Thornton's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier.
- Blundell, T; Barlow, D; Borkakoti, N; Thornton, J (1983). "Solvent-induced distortions and the curvature of alpha-helices". Nature 306 (5940): 281–3. doi:10.1038/306281a0. PMID 6646210.
- Reeves, G. A.; Eilbeck, K.; Magrane, M.; O'Donovan, C.; Montecchi-Palazzi, L.; Harris, M. A.; Orchard, S.; Jimenez, R. C.; Prlic, A.; Hubbard, T. J. P.; Hermjakob, H.; Thornton, J. M. (2008). "The Protein Feature Ontology: A tool for the unification of protein feature annotations". Bioinformatics 24 (23): 2767. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn528.
- Rahman, S. A.; Cuesta, S. M.; Furnham, N.; Holliday, G. L.; Thornton, J. M. (2014). "EC-BLAST: A tool to automatically search and compare enzyme reactions". Nature Methods 11 (2): 171–4. doi:10.1038/nmeth.2803. PMID 24412978.
- "ELIXIR's leadership: Governance in ELIXIR's construction phase". Archived from the original on 2013-10-14.
- "UK Government Grants awarded to Janet Thornton". Research Councils UK. Archived from the original on 2015-03-10.
- "Why Prof. Thornton was awarded the FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2007-11-12.
- "Professor Dame Janet Thornton PhD, CBE, FRS, DBE, Churchill College, Cambridge". Archived from the original on 2015-03-10.
- "EC/1999/34: Thornton, Janet M". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2014-02-18.
- The London Gazette: . 16 June 2012.
- Eureka 100: the people that matter
|Director of the European Bioinformatics Institute