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Dr Timothy O'Leary

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Research interests

I study regulatory control in the nervous system using engineering approaches and experimental physiology. I am interested in the general principles and mechanisms that allow biological nervous systems to develop, self-organise, adapt and store information. Remarkably, there is overwhelming evidence that nervous systems are highly variable and in constant flux, to a far higher degree than one might expect given its intricate functions. Understanding the sources and consequences of this variability and what it implies about regulatory mechanisms is a key goal in my research, relevant to basic questions in neuroscience as well as a better understanding of disease.


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The Cambridge Centre for Data-Driven Discovery (C2D3) brings together researchers and expertise from across the academic departments and industry to drive research into the analysis, understanding and use of data science.

The Centre is funded by a series of collaborations with partners in business and industry which have an interest in using data science for the benefit of their customers and their organisations. Our founding partner is Aviva, the UK’s leading insurance company. We work with industrial partners to build a portfolio of collaborative research projects, provide professional development opportunities for their own staff and access to the full breadth and depth of the University’s talent pool in the area of data science.

With unprecedented access to increasing volumes of data, our research ranges from the underlying fundamentals in mathematics and computer science, to data science applications across all six University Schools of Arts and Humanities, Biological Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Humanities and Social Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Technology.

In parallel, our research addresses important issues around law, ethics and economics, in order to apply data science to solve challenging problems for society.

C2D3 supports collaboration and knowledge transfer in this growing field.

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