Portrait of Sara-Jane Dunn

Sara-Jane Dunn

Scientist

About

I am a scientist based within the Biological Computation group at Microsoft Research Cambridge, and an affiliate researcher at the Wellcome Trust – Medical Research Council Stem Cell Institute, University of Cambridge. I am a mathematician by training, and received my doctoral degree from the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford. I work at the interface between mathematics, computer science and biology.

Specifically, my research is centred on developing a theory of biology as computation, in which the biochemistry of the cell performs information processing in the service of decision-making. Towards this, I collaborate with researchers at MSR, and experimentalists at the Universities of Cambridge and Padova to investigate stem cell decision-making throughout Development. The goal of this research is ultimately to make cells programmable, which could fundamentally transform medicine, agriculture and even the ways we generate energy.

Projects

Reasoning Engine for Interaction Networks (RE:IN)

Established: January 1, 2012

This webpage is dedicated to the tool RE:IN, providing information on the latest version available, together with a tutorial, FAQ, and example files. About RE:IN The Reasoning Engine for Interaction Networks (RE:IN) is a tool that runs online in your…

Decision-Making in Stem Cells

Established: January 18, 2016

Development proceeds via a sequence of decisions that cells have to make about whether to divide, to differentiate, or to migrate. Differentiation is the process by which a cell changes from one type to another, which enables the expansion of the different…

Z3-4Biology

Established: January 1, 2007

An SMT-based Framework for Analyzing Biological Computation The basic principles governing the development and function of living organisms remain only partially understood, despite significant progress in molecular and cellular biology and tremendous breakthroughs in experimental methods. The development…

Publications

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Biography

I studied Mathematics at the University of Oxford, graduating with an MMath in 2007. During the summer of 2006 I completed a NERC internship at the British Antarctic Survey, working with Dr. Andrew Edwards on the foraging behaviour of the wandering albatross.

I began my DPhil. in 2007, also at Oxford, as a student of the Life Science Interface Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). The first year of my doctoral studies was spent completing an intensive training course coordinated by the DTC in the application of mathematical, physical, computational and engineering science techniques to the biomedical and life sciences. At the end of this year, I joined the Computational Biology group to begin my DPhil. research project, supervised by Prof. David Gavaghan, Prof. Helen Byrne, Prof. Jon Chapman and Dr. James Osborne. The focus of this project was the development of a computational model of the intestinal crypt, to facilitate investigation of the initial stages of carcinogenesis which precede colorectal cancer. I completed my DPhil. in December 2010, just prior to joining Microsoft Research as a postdoctoral researcher. In June 2014 I became a permanent member of the Biological Computation group.