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Sara-Jane Dunn

Sara-Jane Dunn

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. My research is focused on the theory of how and why cells perform computation. As part of this, I work on Decision-Making in Stem Cells, in a collaboration with experimental researchers at the University of Cambridge and the University of Padova. In this project, we are seeking to uncover the program that governs naïve pluripotency and differentiation decisions in embryonic stem cells.


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 in the Computer Science department 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. This work was carried out in collaboration with Prof Inke Nathke, University of Dundee. I completed my DPhil. in December 2010, just prior to joining Microsoft Research as a postdoctoral researcher. In June 2014 I became a permanent researcher in the Biological Computation group.