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Francesca Buffa


Professor of Computational Biology and Cancer Genomics

  • Group Leader - Department of Oncology
  • Principal Investigator - Cancer Research UK and European Research Council

Research Summary

Our research focuses on systems medicine and multi-omics approaches that help us understand cancer as a complex system. We are interested in how cancer cells re-wire their molecular networks to respond and adapt to a heterogeneous and dynamic tumour microenvironment. This research is funded by Cancer Reseach UK and European Research Council programmes.

The goal is to deliver multi-omics classifiers and executable cancer models that enable in-silico experimentation to identify likely resistance mechanisms, predict effective drug combinations, and identify strategies for cancers that are currently incurable.

Key to this work are the production of cutting edge omics data, and development of advanced machine learning and mathematical modelling approaches.


After a Masters Degree in Theoretical Physics from the University of Turin, Francesca completed a PhD in Physics and Mathematical Modelling at the Institute of Cancer Research, University of London. She then undertook postdoctoral research at the Gray Cancer Institute, London, before joining the Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford, first as a postdoctoral research fellow, then as Principal Investigator and Head of the Computational Biology and Integrative Genomics Lab.

In addition to her research work, Francesca Buffa teaches post-graduate courses, including the new MSc in Precision Cancer Medicine, where she leads the genomics module, and MSc in Radiation Biology, where she teaches  statistics and genomics. She also teaches at national and international Masters Courses and Advanced Schools, including yearly MSc courses at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, and the Advanced Courses at the Wellcome Genome Campus, University of Cambridge, UK.

Francesca Buffa has served on several national and international committees, including funding agencies Horizon2020, the European Research Council, the Medical Research Council, the UK Research Institute and Cancer Research UK. She is also a member of national and international evaluation panels, including REF-2021.

She authored over 130 publications, several in high impact journals, and she is the recipient of a Cancer Research UK Programme and European Research Council Programme Award.

Group Members

Alessandro Barberis, Postdoctoral Researcher
Ryan Carter, Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP Student
Philip Charlton, Clinical Research Fellow DPhil Student
Wei-Chen Cheng, Postdoctoral Researcher
Yueachan Chi,  DPhil Student
Matteo Di Giovannantonio, DPhil Student
Badran Elshenawy, DPhil Student
Joachim Hagel, Immunology DTP Student
Ben Harris, Clinical Research Fellow
Fiona Hartley, DPhil Student
May Sin Ke, DPhil Student
Sakura Maezono, Tsukuba University DPhil Student
Ana Miar Cuervo, Postdoctoral Researcher
Dawn O'Reilly, Postdoctoral Researcher
Jayathilake Pahala Gedara, Postdoctoral Researcher
Clara Pavillet, Wellcome Trust DTP Student
Karen Sayal, Clinical Research Felow
Helen Sheldon, Postdoctoral Researcher
Charalampos Triantafyllidis, Postdoctoral Researcher
Ava Van Ess, Oxford Institute DPhil Student
Pedro Victori, DPhil Student