Research Group Leader
Telephone: +44 01223 761930
Dr Dunning has 30 years experience as a laboratory scientist in the genetic epidemiology of common diseases – she did her PhD in cardiovascular genetics at UCL before moving to Cambridge where she has worked on the genetics of hormonal cancers ever since. She has two complementary areas of expertise:
(i) Technologies for high-throughput genetic analysis.
She developed the high-throughput genotyping & next generation sequencing laboratory within the CCGE. Her team are experts at designing processes for running hundreds-of-thousands of genetic assays in thousands of DNA samples. Within international consortia these processes have to be run in parallel in collaborating labs across the world, her team design control steps to ensure comparability of the results, regardless of where they were obtained. She helped direct the international wet-lab work required to genotype first the iCOGS chip and later the Oncoarray.
(Ii) Fine-scale mapping to identify genetic variants that are directly responsible for traits and diseases
Dr Dunning provides a bridge between the genetic epidemiologists who detect disease associations and molecular/cell biologists who identify the functional variants underlying those associations. She chairs the BCAC Functional working group (http://bcac.ccge.medschl.cam.ac.uk/members/working-groups/functional-working-group/) with this aim.
She helped initiate the Radiogenomics Consortium, which works to identify genetic variants underlying normal-tissue response to tumour radiotherapy and we regularly host visiting scientists from this consortium. Dr Laura Fachal is currently working with us on an EU Marie Curie Fellowship.
The lab can also run assays to determine telomere length in white blood cells and Dr Pooley has undertaken numerous studies on the genetic control of mean telomere length and its effect on cancer susceptibility.
At undergraduate level she devised most of the human genetics content and teaches the Cambridge University Institute of Continuing Education Certificate in Genetics https://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/genetics-certificate. She also gives some lectures on the MPhil in Public Health and Epidemiology