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David Sims

University Lecturer & MRC WIMM group leader

Transcriptional regulation in neuroscience

The human brain is one of the most complex organs in nature containing 100 billion cells and trillions of connections, all derived from a single fertilised egg. Our research group uses computational genomics approaches to study the transcriptional programmes that give rise to different brain structures and functions in a range of model organisms.

Working with Scott Waddell and Stephen Goodwin at the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour (CNCB) we are using single cell sequencing and machine learning approaches to study the diversity of neurons in the brain of the fruit fly. As the fly midbrain contains only 40,000 cells modern sequencing approach can generate transcriptional data at a whole brain scale. Using these methods we are investigating the effects of thirst, hunger and learning and memory on different clusters of neurons within the brain.

We are also developing a novel lineage tracing method, Lineage-seq, to track the development of neurons within the mouse brain in collaboration with Colin Ackerman at the department of Pharmacology. This method will enable us to see for the first time the different cell types generated from different neuronal progenitor cells.

I am also the director of Oxford Biomedical Data Science Training Programme (OBDS). The six week OBDS programme aims to enable biomedical researchers to apply data science and computational biology methods to their own genomic data. For full details please see the OBDS webpage.

Recent publications

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