Dr Dennis Bray

Dennis Bray

University position

Emeritus Professor (active)


Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience



Home page

http://www.pdn.cam.ac.uk/comp-cell (personal home page)

Research Theme

Systems and Computational Neuroscience


How do bacteria find distant sources of food, and avoid noxious and potentially damaging environments? We seek answers to these questions by developing computer simulations of swimming bacteria exposed to gradients of different substances. Our programs include the molecular details of the intracellular signalling events allowing us to provide an integrated account of this simple behaviour at multiple levels. In this way, we have been able to uncover gaps in the present understanding of the phenomena and successfully predict novel mechanisms of intracellular signalling. We are also using our simulated bacteria as surrogate “organisms” to test responses to defined gradients of attractants under conditions that would be difficult to achieve experimentally.

Network of reactions that mediate chemotaxis in the bacterium E. coli.
Network of reactions that mediate chemotaxis in the bacterium E. coli.
Click image to view full-size

Research Focus



E. Coli

signal amplification

Clinical conditions

No direct clinical relevance


No equipment indicated


No collaborators listed

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Bray D (2009), “Wetware: a Computer in Every Living Cell” Yale University Press

    Andrews SS, Bray D (2004), “Stochastic simulation of chemical reactions with spatial resolution and single molecule detail” Phys Biol 1:137-151 Details

    Lipkow K, Andrews SS, Bray D (2004), “Simulated diffusion of CheYp through the cytoplasm of E coli” J Bacteriol 187:45-53 Details



    Brooks R, Hassabis D, Bray D, Shashua A (2012), “Turing centenary: Is the brain a good model for machine intelligence?” Nature 482: 462-463


    Goldman JP, Levin MD, Bray D (2009), “Signal amplification in a lattice of coupled protein kinases.” Mol Biosyst 5(12):1853-9 Details


    Bray D, Levin MD, Lipkow K (2007), “The chemotactic behavior of computer-based surrogate bacteria.” Curr Biol 17(1):12-9 Details