The dynamics of biological networks provide a strong unifying theme, ranging from evolutionary, ecological and social scales to genomic, metabolic, and biochemical levels. The benefits to society are similarly diverse, combining short-term practicality with longer-term changes to understanding.
|Impacting on health and disease|
Marine ecosystems and sustainable fisheries
The importance of social networks
New mathematics is unlocking the secrets of how viruses protect and replicate, and how they infect new cells. Our models capture the intricate interactions between RNA viral capsids, providing important insights into viral evolution, infection and assembly. Applications range from anti-viral drug design to bio-nanotechnology.
Our work ranges from theoretical studies of biochemical, cellular and ecological networks to more practical applications such as resilience of biodiversity and ecosystem function under climate challenges. For example, we are investigating the role of polydomy (having multiple nests) in colonies of ants in the National Trust properties in the Peak Distict National Park – does this feature make colonies more resilient to environmental change?
Dr Leo Caves, Senior lecturer: modelling and simulation of complex biosystems; biomolecular self-assembly; emergent properties of artificial chemistries; exploratory data analysis and visualisation. Based in YCCSA.
Dr Kanchon Dasmahapatra, Lecturer: speciation in heliconiine and ithomiine butterflies; Müllerian mimicry; high-throughput sequencing; genome-wide patterns of divergence, adaptive introgression, and genomic exchange between species.
Professor Katherine Denby: disease resistance, gene regulatory networks, synthetic biology, breeding disease resistant crops, plant defence, plant-pathogen interactions, computational biology, network modelling
Professor Calvin Dytham: evolution of dispersal; theoretical and individual-based modelling; evolution in dynamic and structured habitats including range expansions and invasions; spread of human diseases; ageing and the evolution of “suicide genes”.
Dr Daniel Franks, Lecturer, joint appointment with Computer Science: computational models of ecology and evolution; network analysis, with a focus on animal association networks and network sampling; predator-prey interactions, with a focus on warning signals and mimicry. Based in YCCSA.
Professor Richard Law, Emeritus: sustainable harvesting; plant ecology; community dynamics and evolutionary ecology.
Dr Jon Pitchford, Senior Lecturer: joint appointment with Mathematics: stochastic and nonlinear dynamical systems and statistical modelling in ecology and evolution; marine ecosystems and fisheries; network stability and complexity; toxicology; epidemiology; plankton dynamics. Based in YCCSA.
Dr Elva Robinson, Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow and proleptic Lecturer: organisation of ant societies; theoretical and individual-based modelling of community-level behaviour; Radio-Frequency IDentification (RFID) technology; robustness and resilience in networks; self-organisation and decentralised control in complex systems. Based in YCCSA.
Dr Gavin Thomas, Senior Lecturer: mechanisms used by human pathogens to utilise host-derived sialic acid; transport across the inner membrane of bacteria; constraint-based modelling of obligate symbiosis between bacteria and their insect hosts.
Professor Reidun Twarock, joint appointment with Mathematics: structure and assembly of viruses; symmetry and computational methods for virus architecture and capsid structure; internal RNA organisation and feedbacks; assembly pathways via energy landscapes. Based in YCCSA.
Professor Mark Williamson, Emeritus: biological invasions and the impact of the introduced species.
Dr Jamie Wood, Lecturer: joint appointment with Mathematics: complexity and emergence in biologically inspired models; computational and statistical mechanics methodologies; Daisyworld; quantitative genetics; investigating flocking and herding behaviour in animals, and network rewiring; quorum sensing and biofilm formation; biochemical network modelling. Based in YCCSA.
Professor J Peter W Young Emeritus: Population genetics, molecular phylogeny and comparative genomics of rhizobia and other bacteria; molecular ecology and diversity of mycorrhizal fungi; bioinformatics and environmental genomics; biologically-inspired computing.
Adaptive prolonged postreproductive life span in killer whales. Foster et al. 2012, Science
Reconsidering the Consequences of Selective Fisheries. Garcia et al. 2012, Science
Disentangling nestedness from models of ecological complexity. James et al. 2012, Nature
Butterfly genome reveals promiscuous exchange of mimicry adaptations among species. Dasmahapatra et al. 2012, Nature