Portrait of Sara-Jane Dunn

Sara-Jane Dunn

Principal Scientist


I am a scientist based in the Biological Computation group at Microsoft Research Cambridge, and an Affiliate PI at the Wellcome-MRC Stem Cell Institute, University of Cambridge. I completed my undergraduate and postgraduate training at the University of Oxford, first obtaining a Masters in Mathematics, followed by a DPhil in Computational Biology from the Department of Computer Science.

My research sits at the interface between mathematics, computer science and biology. More specifically, I focus on the concept 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 experimentalists at the Universities of Cambridge and Padova to investigate stem cell decision-making throughout Development. As a computational scientist in biology, my goal is to identify the necessary abstractions to develop predictive, explanatory models of the biological programs that govern cellular behaviour. Ultimately, this research will lead us to make cells programmable, which could fundamentally transform medicine, agriculture and even the ways we generate energy.


Prof Austin Smith, Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council Stem Cell Institute, University of Cambridge
Dr Graziano Martello, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Padua
Dr Hillel Kugler, Faculty of Engineering, Bar-Ilan University


TED talk, The Next Software Revolution: Programming Biology


Forbes: Future tech
17 for ’17: Microsoft researchers on what to expect in 2017 and 2027
Development: Quantitative stem cell biology: the threat and the glory
#MakeWhatsNext: Girls in Tech Europe
New Scientist: Windows bug-testing software cracks stem cell programs
The Scientist: Minimal toolkit for stem cell self-renewal
Inside Microsoft Research: Theorem prover sheds new light on stem cell behaviour
Womanthology: Banishing imposter syndrome