University College London, UK


Christine Orengo trained as a chemical physicist and then moved into biochemistry obtaining a PhD in Enzyme Kinetics from UCL, London. She worked as a postdoc at the National Institute of Medical Research where she developed algorithms in structural classification and then at UCL where she developed the CATH classification. She was awarded an MRC Senior Research Fellowship 1995-2015 and was appointed Professor in Bioinformatics at UCL in 2002.

Christine Orengo’s research focuses on how proteins evolve – how do relatives in a family diverge in structure and function and how do they evolve to operate in different biological contexts. The CATH classification, developed together with Janet Thornton, is widely accessed (nearly 2 million webpage accesses and 10,000 unique visitors per month) and a partner resource in InterPro. CATH was enabled by the development of robust protein structure comparison algorithms, (SSAP - JMB 1989, CATHEDRAL – PloS Comp Biol 2007) still used by the structural biology and structural genomics communities.

Analysis of CATH led to important insights into the population of structural families and folds (Nature 1994) and revealed the bias in protein domain families whereby l<5% account for two thirds of all known domains (Annual Reviews Biochem. 2005). More recently, with the assignment of 40 million domains to CATH, sequence analysis has enabled the recognition of functional subfamilies possessing distinct sequence patterns that can aid function prediction (Nature Methods 2012, Bioinformatics 2015). The group also study evolution of functions in CATH superfamilies (TIBS 2002, PNAS 2013).

CATH domain families have also been exploited in the prediction and analysis of protein networks (PLoS Comp Biol 2009) and the group collaborate with several experimental groups characterising signalling networks implicated in development, neuropathic pain and cancer.

Christine Orengo is a member of EMBO and a Vice-President of the International Society for Computational Biology.


Christine Orengo lab's webpage

Latest publication

Speaker at