Terry began her lifelong career in computational biology while an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, where she worked with Drs. Bruce and Giovanna Ames on a comparison of sequences for amino acid binding proteins in E. coli using some of the earliest sequence analysis software. After receiving her A.B. in Biochemistry and Computer Science, she completed her M.S. in Computer Science at the University of Washington and then spent nine years in the Seattle biotechnology industry, first at Immunex and then at ZymoGenetics. There, she mined the rapidly growing databases of human and viral genome data to discover genes of pharmaceutical interest, applying her expertise in protein structure modeling and sequence motif searching with a focus on cytokines and their receptors. More recently, she worked in the lab of Dr. Kimmen Sjolander at UC Berkeley developing methods to align very distantly related protein sequences in support of homology modeling.
In 2008 she joined the Institute for Systems Biology where she worked for five years on the PeptideAtlas team in the proteomics lab of Dr. Robert Moritz. She increased the reliability of the protein identifications in PeptideAtlas, implemented a hierarchical protein identification terminology that became part of the world-wide standard mzIdentML, extended PeptideAtlas to handle targeted proteomics data, analyzed data specific to certain human tissues and body fluids, and mined PeptideAtlas to add proteins and proteoforms to the reference database of the Human Proteome Project.
In December 2013 she transitioned to the Family Genomics group of the Hood lab, where she is developing software to efficiently analyze very large numbers of human genomes for the discovery of genes involved in human health and disease.