Committee bio

Dr William Schierding

William Schierding

Liggins Institute,

The University of Auckland,

New Zealand

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Dr William Schierding is a bioinformatician with experience in developmental genetics, cancer biology, chromatin conformation, and epigenetics.


William completed his PhD at the University of Auckland (Liggins Institute, under the leadership of Wayne Cutfield and Justin O’Sullivan) in 2017, where he was focused on the functional consequences of altering genome organization (three-dimensional chromatin structure). William is currently working as a Senior Research Fellow at the Liggins Institute, where his research focus is on the intersection of high-throughput genetic and epigenetic research with modern “big data” approaches.  


Amongst 3 billion bases of DNA lurks some 10 million points of genetic variation, making us who we are as individuals. In some cases, those variants contribute to disease. Around two-thirds of those disease-associated variants are in non-coding regions of the DNA, a major challenge to those hoping to attribute these variants to altered function. Ultimately, this makes it difficult for scientists to understand why this variation is hazardous to our health, leaving diagnosis tricky and remediation nearly impossible. William’s approach aims to answer the question, “How do common variations in non-coding genetic sequence impact on the three-dimensional structure of the genome within the nucleus, leading to dysregulation and disease?”

Early in 2008, Sue Clark brought a handful of epigenetics researchers from Australia together to form the Australian Epigenetics Alliance. The AEpiA has now grown to a membership of over 600, with members spanning not only Australasia, but the globe.  In February 2021, our Victorian local organising committee hosted our eighth flagship Epigenetics conference, online for the first time.  Our NSW team is now busy preparing for Epigenetics 2022, which will be held in September in Kingscliff, NSW.