Dr Jo Dicks

Senior Researcher

Contact via email

Following degrees in Mathematics, Statistics and Computational Biology at the Universities of Nottingham and Oxford, I began my research career in 1996 at the John Innes Centre (JIC) in Norwich. I led a research group investigating a broad range of computational problems in plant genetics and genomics, from plant genetic mapping to comparative genomics and phylogenetics. While at JIC, I began a long collaboration with Ian Roberts at the National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC).

In 2013, I moved to the Quadram Institute (QI) to lead the NCYC yeast genomes project. This data-rich project has opened up a huge range of projects encompassing the fields of industrial biotechnology, genome evolution and health. Key areas of my current research are developing Genome Wide Association Studies to enable the detailed examination of yeast bioindustrial traits and pathogenicity factors, and the detection and analysis of sequence and copy number variation within the yeast ribosomal DNA, underpinning further studies on the significance and function of this ubiquitous genomic region.

I enjoy participating in the training of a new generation of computational biologists, with several former MSc. and PhD students having gone on to successful scientific careers on the Norwich Research Park and beyond. An Honorary Senior Lecturer within the School of Computing Sciences (CMP) at the University of East Anglia. Also an Editorial Board Member of the journal Briefings in Bioinformatics and is regularly called upon to take part in grant award panels (BBSRC and NSF) and to conduct PhD examinations.  A QI STEM Ambassador, a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, a Member of the International Society for Computational Biology and a Member of the Microbiology Society.

Key Publications

Kettleborough G, Dicks J, Robert IN and Huber KT (2015) Reconstructing (super)trees from data sets with missing distances: Not all is lost. Molecular Biology and Evolution 32(6): 1628-1642.

West C, James SA, Davey RP, Dicks J and Roberts IN (2014) Ribosomal DNA sequence heterogeneity reflects intraspecies phylogenies and predicts genome structure in two contrasting yeast species. Systematic Biology 63(4):543-554.

Inagaki Y-S, Etherington G, Geisler K, Field B, Dokarry M, Ikeda K, Mutsukado Y, Dicks J and Osbourn A (2011) Investigation of the potential for triterpene synthesis in rice through genome mining and metabolic engineering. New Phytologist 191(2):432-448.

Cheema J and Dicks J (2009) Computational approaches and software tools for genetic linkage map estimation in plants. Briefings in Bioinformatics 10(6): 595-608.

Etherington GJ, Dicks J and Roberts IN (2005) Recombination Analysis Tool (RAT): a program for the high-throughput detection of recombination. Bioinformatics 21(3): 278-281.