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Dr Jamie Blundell
Group leader, CRUK Early Detection Programme
TCM Group, Cavendish Laboratory
19 JJ Thomson Avenue,
Cambridge, CB3 0HE UK.
- Dr Caroline Watson
- Emma Wagner
- Matthew Bradley (Part III project)
We make ~5,000,000 new blood cells each second. To achieve this, hematopoietic stem- and progenitor-cells (HSPCs) must constantly divide to replenish the cells we lose. Throughout our lifetimes, therefore, our populations of HSPCs evolve: accumulating genetic alterations, some of which cause clonal expansions and, eventually, cancer. My research focusses on quantitatively understanding this clonal evolution. To do this I use a combination of genetic lineage tracing experiments, analysis of deep sequencing data sets and mathematical/statistical models borrowed from population genetics and statistical physics. More deatils can be found at blundelllab.com.
In Plain English
Many cell populations, including those in our bodies, reproduce asexually. Daughter cells inherit an almost perfect copy of the mother cell's DNA, with small numbers of copying errors (a.k.a mutations). This is a process of evolution going on inside our bodies which is implicated in many diseases, most notably, cancer. My research focusses on establishing better understanding of this evolution in order to develop better ways of detecting cancer at its earliest stages.