Mathematical Biology

The Mathematical Biology Group is involved in interdisciplinary research applying mathematics in a wide range of biological fields including immunology, epidemiology, cell biology, electrophysiology, ecology, game theory and evolution. Our group is one of the best-established and largest in the field. Opportunities for graduate students and postdocs include lab experience through various collaborators on campus.

We are always interested to hear from potential graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. We recruit from many different backgrounds, including mathematics, physics, chemistry, bioinformatics, engineering and the biological sciences. We often supervise undergraduate thesis projects (for instance, from the Biophysics and Integrated Science programs) and take on summer research undergraduate students.

Core Faculty

The Mathematical Biology Group is composed of several core UKAAM faculty who are actively involved in the UKAAM activities and supervise UKAAM students or postdoctoral fellows. Prospective students interested in a research project in Mathematical Biology in the UKAAM are encouraged to contact one or more of the core faculty as potential supervisors and let them know of their interests.

Fred BrauerFred is a Professor Emeritus in the Mathematics Department, who continues to be active in research and in supervision of graduate students. His research interests include mathematical epidemiology, population biology, and dynamical systems.
Dan CoombsDan is predominantly interested in theoretical immunology, especially cell signalling, cell-surface receptor kinetics, T and B cell immune synapse, and biological filament dynamics. Other areas of his research include multiscale modelling of infectious diseases and the development and improvement of techniques for measuring biophysical parameters.
Eric CytrynbaumEric’s research focusses on the dynamics of bacterial cell division, including both the regulation of division-site selection and the biophysics of force generation by the FtsZ ring, as well as eukaryotic cytoskeleton pattern formation and its role in cellular organisation and development (specifically plant growth). Eric is also interested in the modelling of wave propagation in excitable media with applications to cardiac electrophysiology.
Michael DoebeliMichael is a Professor of Zoology and Mathematics. His research area is in ecology and evolution, including topics such as sympatric speciation, game theory, dynamics of spatially structured populations, cultural diversification, and controlling chaos.
Jimmy FengJimmy works on cell and tissue mechanics, with an emphasis on modeling and simulating the feedback between biochemical signaling and mechanical responses on the cytoskeletal, whole-cell and tissue levels. Current projects include particle-based simulation of malaria-infected red cells, multiscale models of cell motility and tissue morphogenesis.
Priscilla (Cindy) GreenwoodCindy’s current research tries to advance the understanding of single neurons and interactions of populations of neurons using ideas from stochastic dynamics. Another theme is that subthreshold oscillations are produced by dynamics of e.g. Morris Lecar, Fitzhugh Nagumo, or Hodgkin Huxley neuron models near the fixed point.
Christoph HauertChristoph is interested in computer simulations and models of complex systems with applications in physics, biology and medicine. The main focus of his work is on the evolutionary game theory and on structured populations (cooperation, reward and punishment).
Leah KeshetLeah has been active in many areas of mathematical biology. Her current work is focussed on cytoskeleton and actin dynamics, and on swarming and aggregation behaviour in animal societies. Leah’s book Mathematical Models in Biology has been one of the classic texts in the field.
Yue-Xian LiYue-Xian is interested in calcium dynamics, signal transduction in cells, biophysics, and neuroscience. Specific research topics include calcium signalling in neuroendocrine cells, fertilisation calcium waves in oocytes, and neuronal synchrony leading to rhythmogenesis of hormonal signals

Recommended Courses

Students interested in the Mathematical Biology research in the UKAAM are advised to take the following preliminary, core and optional courses.

Preliminary and Foundational Courses

MATH 400: Partial Differential Equations
MATH 401: Green Functions and Variational Methods
MATH 450/550: Perturbation Methods
MATH 521: Numerical Analysis of PDEs
MATH 551: Asymptotic Analysis for PDEs
MATH 552: Dynamical Systems Theory
MATH 607E: Numerical Methods for Differential Equations

Mathematical Biology Courses

MATH 462: Projects in Mathematical Biology
MATH 560: Mathematical Biology
MATH 561: Mathematics of Infectious Diseases and Immunology
MATH 562: Mathematical Electrophysiology
MATH 563: Modelling of Cell-Scale Biology
MATH 564: Evolutionary Dynamics
MATH 612: Topics in Mathematical Biology

Further Options

MATH 554: Symmetries and Differential Equations
MATH 605E: Mathematical Modelling and Analysis of Industrial Problems