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Personal profile

Academic Background

Jo Dicks has a BSc in Mathematics from the University of Nottingham and an MSc in Applied Statistics and a DPhil in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford. She moved from Oxford, where she worked as a Research Assistant in the Genetics Laboratory whilst working for her DPhil, to the John Innes Centre in 1996 to initiate JIC's first research group in computational biology. In the subsequent years, she has developed strong research links with both UEA and the Institute of Food Research and has been involved in UEA's MSc in Bioinformatics since it began.

Additional Contacts

Key Research Interests

Jo Dicks leads a computational biology research group at the John Innes Centre and she is also an Honorary Lecturer in the School of Computing Sciences. The research focus of the group is the development of models and algorithms to enable the study of crop plant evolution. Current interests include the development of statistical models for whole genomic processes such as chromosomal evolution (gene content and gene order) and retrotransposon evolution. Computational analysis of these data types is facilitated by the CHROMTREE and RETROTREE analysis packages. The goal of these projects is to gain a better understanding of the evolution of crop plants. However, in the development of the models and algorithms, the group also works with many collaborators on the analysis of other organisms such as yeasts, viruses and bacteria.

In the past few years, the group has also carried out several bioinformatics software development projects. Until recently, the group formed the comparative analysis node of the UK Crop Plant Bioinformatics Network (UK CropNet), developing a comparative mapping database (ComapDB) and a Java software system for performing comparative genome analysis over a network of distributed databases (ARCADE). Software was also developed for querying and visualising plant germplasm data within the GENE-MINE project and the group currently participates in the related GERMINATE project, in which a generic plant data management system is undergoing development.