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James Ashford

DPhil Student

I'm James, a DPhil researcher in the Sahakyan Group. My area of research focusses on creating sequence-only models of cellular phenomena, leveraging the modelling power of modern machine learning methods and distilling biological knowledge into useful features. 

The primary cellular behaviour I am currently investigating is replication timing (RT). This describes the order in which sections of the genome are copied during mitotic replication. RT has been correlated strongly with genome 3D structure, gene expression, and a host of sequence modifications. Differences in RT can be seen across different cell lines and differentiation stages, and we seek to identify the underlying sequence-determined basis for RT behaviour. In my full thesis work, I will use similar sequenced-based models to predict the behaviour of other cellular properties, and investigate how these models can be used together to enhance their performance. 

Before arriving in Oxford, I received my MSci in Natural Sciences from the University of Exeter. I'm a keen runner and sailor, and currently the HCR President for Brasenose College.