Dr Yinyin Yuan joined the ICR in 2012 as the leader of the Computational Pathology and Integrative Genomics team. Currently, her team is part of the Centre for Evolution and Cancer and the Division of Molecular Pathology. Her team develops computational approaches to study tumours as evolving ecosystems by fusing digital pathology, bioinformatics and ecological statistics.
Her research focuses on the emerging concept that tumours are complex, evolving ecosystems with dynamic crosstalk among cancer, immune and normal cells. Studying the complex relationships between cancer cells and their natural habitats allows for development of new and effective therapeutic interventions, analogous to draining the swamps to help eradicate malaria.
By combining high-throughput pathological image analysis, machine learning and spatial statistics, her team studies how genetically different cancers grow and spread under selective pressures from the tumour microenvironment. Her team was among the first to demonstrate the use of spatial statistics in large-scale inference of microenvironmental spatial heterogeneity, which led to the development of new immune scoring methods and mechanistic studies of immunosuppression in solid tumours.
Yinyin was trained in computer science and bioinformatics. She obtained her academic degrees in computer science during her education at the University of Science and Technology of China (BSc 2003) and University of Warwick (MSc by research 2005, computer vision and steganography; PhD 2009, machine learning and bioinformatics).
Her postdoctoral work in cancer bioinformatics at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute focused on the discovery of new subtypes in 2,000 breast cancers using large-scale machine learning and image processing on molecular data and pathological images. From 2010-2012 she served as a member of the governing body at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge. Outside work, she is a keen hiker and rock climber.
Dr Yuan gained the title of Reader at the ICR in 2019.