|Fields||computational biology, microbiology, neurobiology|
|Institutions||University of Cambridge|
|Notable awards||Microsoft European Science Award (2007)|
Dennis Bray is an active emeritus professor at University of Cambridge. His group is also part of the Oxford Centre for Integrative Systems Biology. After a first career in Neurobiology, working on cell growth and movement, Dennis Bray moved in Cambridge to develop computational models of cell signaling, in particular in relation to bacterial chemotaxis.
In this book Bray offers imaginative, wide-ranging and perceptive critiques of robotics and complexity theory, as well as many amusing and telling anecdotes. The book taps into the findings of the new discipline of systems biology to show that the internal chemistry of living cells is a form of computation, although that sounds consuming it is written very clearly and understandably. How does a single-cell creature, such as an amoeba, lead such a sophisticated life? How does it hunt living prey, respond to lights, sounds, and smells, and display complex sequences of movements without the benefit of a nervous system? Bray proposes a startling and original answer. Cells are built out of molecular circuits that perform logical operations, as electronic devices do, but with unique properties. Bray argues that the computational juice of cells provides the basis of all the distinctive properties of living systems: it allows organisms to embody in their internal structure an image of the world, and this accounts for their adaptability, responsiveness, and intelligence.
- Essential Cell Biology (2003) (with Bruce Alberts, Karen Hopkin, Alexander Jonhson, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts, Peter Walter) ISBN 0-8153-3480-X, ISBN 978-0-8153-3480-4
- Cell Movements: From Molecules to Motility (2000) ISBN 0-8153-3282-3, ISBN 978-0-8153-3282-4
- Essential Cell Biology: An Introduction to the Molecular Biology of the Cell (1997) (with Bruce Alberts, Alexander Johnson, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts, Peter Walter) ISBN 0-8153-2971-7, ISBN 978-0-8153-2971-8
- Molecular Biology of the Cell (1994) (with Bruce Alberts, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts, James D. Watson) ISBN 0-8153-1927-4, ISBN 978-0-8153-1927-6
- Cell Movements (1992) ISBN 0-8153-0717-9, ISBN 978-0-8153-0717-4
- Molecular Biology of the Cell (1989) (with Bruce Alberts, Keith Roberts, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff) ISBN 0-8240-3695-6, ISBN 978-0-8240-3695-9
Main scientific publications
- Bray D (1970) Surface movements during growth of single explanted neurons. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 65: 905
- Bray D, White JG (1988) Cortical flow in animal cells. Science, 239: 883-888
- Bray D (1995) Protein molecules as computational elements in living cells. Nature, 376: 307-312
- Bray D, Levin MD, Morton-Firth CJ (1998) Receptor clustering as a cellular mechanism to control sensitivity. Nature, 393: 85-88
Mention in Popular Science
Professor Franklin M. Harold writes "The theme [of a protein's shape and functionality being altered by interaction with its environment] comes with numerous variations, some of which are discussed in a thought-provoking article by Dennis Bray [author references Dr. Bray's 1995 article] that examines proteins as information-processing devices."
- http://research.microsoft.com/displayArticle.aspx?id=1572 retrieved November 6, 2006
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6113522.stm retrieved November 6, 2006
- Harold, Franklin M. (2001). The way of the cell: molecules, organisms, and the order of life. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 76. ISBN 0-19-513512-1.
- Oxford Centre for Integrative Systems Biology
- Department for Dennis Bray at University of Cambridge
- Review Article version of Bray D (1995) Protein molecules as computational elements in living cells.