Hi, I’m Cait

cait headshot

I am a graduate student at the University of Toronto supervised by Quaid Morris and Kieran Campbell, and a graduate researcher at the Vector Institute and Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. I use machine learning to understand cancer evolution.

I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, in Computational Biology and Statistics. I’m passionate about open science, and promoting great mentorship in the sciences.

I like to drink coffee and go hiking ☕ 🏔️ ☀️


* Indicates equal contribution

Peer Reviewed Publications

Regional Mutational Signature Activities in Cancer Genomes

Caitlin Timmons, Quaid Morris, and Caitlin F. Harrigan

PLOS Computational Biology, 2022

Activating mTOR mutations are detrimental in nutrient-poor conditions

Agata A. Bielska, Caitlin F. Harrigan, Yeon Ju Kyung, Quaid Morris, Wilhelm Palm, and Craig B. Thompson

Cancer Research, 2022

Reconstructing evolutionary trajectories of mutation signature activities in cancer using TrackSig

Yulia Rubanova, Ruian Shi, Caitlin F. Harrigan, Roujia Li, Jeff Wintersinger, Nil Sahin, Amit Deshwar, and Quaid Morris

Nature Communications, 2020

TrackSigFreq: subclonal reconstructions based on mutation signatures and allele frequencies

Caitlin F. Harrigan, Yulia Rubanova, Quaid Morris, and Alina Selega

Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing, 2020

Other Publications

Considerations for Visualizing Uncertainty in Clinical Machine Learning Models

Caitlin F. Harrigan*, Gabriella Morgenshtern*, Anna Goldenberg, and Fanny Chevalier

Workshop paper at CHI 2021


Dirichlet allocation of mutations to model DDR in cancer

Toronto DNA Damage & Repair Symposium


Dirichlet Allocation of Mutations Captures the Action of DNA Damage and Misrepair Processes

Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology


Dirichlet Allocation of Mutations in Cancer Genomes

Machine Learning in Computational Biology


Tandem Signatures of DNA Damage and Misrepair in Cancer

Computing Research Association’s Grad Cohort for Women


TrackSigFreq: subclonal reconstructions based on mutation signatures and allele frequencies

Machine Learning in Computational Biology



Academic Talks

DAMUTA: Dirichlet allocation of mutations as a function of both damage and DNA repair

Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory Meeting: Genome Informatics

Selected Talk


TrackSigFreq: subclonal reconstructions based on mutation signatures and allele frequencies

Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing

Selected Talk, Poster


Guest Lectures

Exploring & Explaining Data in the Wild

AI & Data Science Post-Graduate Program, Loyalist College

Invited by Prof. Peter Papadakos

03/23 view code

Data Collection & Analysis

PRISM research & mentorship program, University of Toronto

Invited by Prof. Sadia Sharmin

02/22 pdf

Environmental & Life Sciences Workshop Series

STEMHub Foundation

Invited workshop series


R for bioinformatics

Global Society for Genetics and Genome Biology

Invited workshop


Other Talks

Finding the ‘I’ in science

ACM Canadian Celebration of  Women in Computing

Selected Workshop

10/22 pdf

Undergraduate research opportunities: how to find them and make them work for you

UofT Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Student Union

Invited by the BCBSU


How to hack your degree

Computer Science Student Union, University of Toronto

Invited by the CSSU



Research Mentorship

Kiki Zhang

Undergraduate Student, Johns Hopkins University

Topic: Mutational signatures in the context of branching evolution

06/23 - 08/23 view

Fedir Zhydok

Undergraduate Student, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Topic: Identifying metastatic tumours from mutational signatures

09/22 - 12/22

Caitlin Timmons

Undergraduate Student, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Topic: Modelling spatial distribution of mutational signatures in cancer genomes.

05/21 - 08/22 view

Haritha Lakshmanan

Highschool Student, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Topic: Automatic discovery of mutations predictive of survival in breast cancer patients

05/20 - 11/20 view

Teaching Assistant Positions

JSC370: Data Science II

01/23 - 05/23

JSC270: Data Science I

01/23 - 05/23

STA313: Data Visualization

09/22 - 12/22

PRISM: Preparation for Research through Immersion, Skills, and Mentorship

01/22 - 05/22

JSC370: Data Science II

01/22 - 05/22

CSC197: Privacy in the Age of Big Data Collection

09/21 - 12/21

STA4273: Minimizing Expectations

01/21 - 05/21

CSC197: Privacy in the Age of Big Data Collection

09/20 - 12/20

JSC270: Data Science I

01/20 - 05/20

CSC373: Algorithm Design, Analysis & Complexity

09/19 - 12/19


“I was fortunate to work with Cait for almost a year and had a wonderful experience. She was patient, supportive, and skilled at explaining complicated concepts in biology and programming. As a mentor, she has a great sense of when to guide you through a problem and when to let you work through challenges on your own. She helped me grow as a researcher and writer and I’m grateful for everything I learned from her.”

“As a mentor, Caitlin has greatly enhanced my ability to conduct research. She also provided valuable resources and aimed to make sure that I understood the fundamental concepts behind all the research conducted by breaking down difficult principles into easily comprehensible statements and thoughts. Additionally, she helped me find any sources of error as the research progressed. I enjoyed researching under her guidance, and I had an overall positive experience.”