BioMaths Colloquium

BioMaths Colloquium Series 


3pm seminar room 224 

Maths Department, 2nd floor Talbot Building 

19 September
Title: Large scale PDE constrained optimization of cardiac defibrillation
Abstract here

28 October
Title: Modelling collective motion in animal groups
Abstract here

16 December
Title: Modelling evolution in structured populations involving multiplayer interactions
Abstract here

27 January
Title: Towards a richer evolutionary game theory
Abstract here

24 February
Title: From discrete to continuum models of a multi-cellular system
Abstract here

02 March
Title: Towards a 3D distribution model of drugs in the brain
Abstract here

07 April
Title: Predator-prey biomass relationships: a role for predator density dependence?
Abstract here

30 June
Title: Taming Nature Inspired Evolutionary Optimisation Algorithms
Abstract TBA


past events


BioMaths Colloquium Series 


3pm seminar room 224 

Maths Department, 2nd floor Talbot Building 

13 November
Title: Modelling the impact of plant shoot architecture on leaf cooling: coupled heat and mass transfer simulations
Abstract here

20 November
Title: A virtual tumour as a tool for Computer-Assisted Therapeutic Strategies
Abstract here

11 December
Title: Effects of spatial structure on cyclic herbivore populations
Abstract here

05 February
Title: Mathematical modelling of Ca2+ influx and calmodulin activation in dendritic spines: implications for synaptic plasticity
Abstract here

18 March
Title: Playing colourful games: evolutionary game theory in stochastic spatial environments
Abstract here

29 April
SpeakerProf Mark Chaplain (University of St Andrews, UK)
Title: Spatio-temporal modelling of gene regulatory networks: The role of molecular movement
Abstract here

27 May
Title: Mathematical Modelling of Plankton-Oxygen Dynamics Under the Climate Change
Abstract here

BioMaths Colloquium Series 


3pm seminar room 224 

Maths Department, 2nd floor Talbot Building 

24 October
Speaker: Dr. Jonathan Potts (School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sheffield)
Title: "Towards predictive models of animal movement and space use: a case study of multi-species bird flocks in Amazonia"
Abstract: click here

14 November
Speaker: Dr. Gibin Powathil (Department of Mathematics, Swansea University) 
Title: "Computational and Mathematical Approaches in Cancer Modelling and Treatment Prediction"
Abstract: click here

05 December
Speaker: Prof. Richard Law (Centre for Complex Systems Analysis, University of York)
Title: Dynamic models of size-spectra, and exploitation of fish assemblages
Abstract: click here

06 February
Speaker: Dr. Stephen Cornell (Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, UK)
Title: Stochastic models in community ecology
Abstract: click here

20 March
Speaker: Prof. John Lygeros (Automatic Control Laboratory, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Title: Estimation and control of cell populations
Abstract: click here

24 April
Speaker: Dr. Fordyce Davidson (Division of Mathematics, University of Dundee, UK)
Title: Swimming Patterns of Zoospores
Abstract: click here

22 May
Speaker: Prof. Jason Matthiopoulos (Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, UK)
Title: Why are species distribution models so poor at prediction?
Abstract: click here

26 June
Speaker: Dr. Raluca Eftimie (Department of Mathematics, University of Dundee, UK)
Title: Communication and aggregation patterns in self-organised animal communities
Communication among individuals forms the basis of social interactions in every animal population. In general, communication is influenced by the physiological and psychological constraints of each individual, and in large aggregations this means differences in the reception and emission of communication signals. Here, we take a new approach on animal aggregations and use a nonlocal mathematical model to investigate theoretically the simultaneous use of two communication mechanisms by the members of a population. We show that the use of multiple communication mechanisms can lead to behaviours that are not necessarily predicted by the behaviour of subpopulations that use only one communication mechanism. We also show that the use of multiple communication mechanisms leads to the sorting of individuals inside aggregations: individuals that are aware of the location and movement direction of all their neighbours usually position themselves at the centre of the groups, while individuals that are aware of the location and movement direction of only some neighbours position themselves at the edges of the groups. Finally, we use bifurcation theory to investigate the mechanisms behind the formation of aggregation patterns displayed by these communities.


BioMaths Colloquium Series 

Lent & Summer 2014

3pm seminar room 224 

Maths Department, 2nd floor Talbot Building 

21 March
Title: "Blood and Blastocysts: mathematical ecological thinking on developmental biology"
Abstract: click here

11 April
Speaker: Dr. Samik Datta (Mathematics Institute, University of Warwick)
Title: "I’m afraid he couldn’t BEE here (and other Simpsons jokes): modelling the spread of disease in honeybees in the UK"
The plight of the honeybee is widely recognised, with global populations suffering huge losses in the last thirty years. One of the major contributors to the decline is disease, although little modelling has previously been performed on honeybees. The work I have done in this field forms part of the Insect Pollinators Initiative, a £10m collaborative scheme funding nine separate projects, each looking at different factors potentially responsible for the marked population decline. In my talk I will show details of the methods we have used and subsequent findings of studying disease spread in honeybees from an epidemiological point of view. The starting point of the analysis is a 20-year dataset showing incidence of European foulbrood (EFB) and American foulbrood (AFB), two bacterial diseases affecting honeybee larvae and potentially damaging to honeybee colonies. I will give an overview of the mathematical models we have built for simulating the transmission of disease, and the statistical tools used to derive parameter values and effectively “reconstruct” the epidemic. Finally, I will show a few results of our analyses on various control strategies for reducing the sizes of epidemics, and comparing them to current protocols employed by the National Bee Unit in controlling the spread of EFB and AFB.

30 May
Title: "Stochastic models of ecological populations"
Abstract: click here


Swansea Biology - Mathematics Meetings

College of Science, Swansea University

‘I attempted mathematics, and even went during the summer of 1828 with a private tutor (a very dull man) to Barmouth, but I got on very slowly. The work was repugnant to me, chiefly from my not being able to see any meaning in the early steps in algebra. This impatience was very foolish, and in after years I have deeply regretted that I did not proceed far enough at least to understand something of the great leading principles of mathematics; for men thus endowed seem to have an extra sense’
Charles Darwin, Autobiography, p. 58

Cartoon by Dr. Wieslaw Krawcewicz

Hello, we are researchers from the College of Science at the University of Swansea, working in the Biosciences and Maths departments. Having realized that between our departments we share many research interests, we decided to set up a series of informal meetings to present and discuss our current questions and new developments. 

Cartoon by Dr. Wieslaw Krawcewicz
Our aim is to go a little further than many interactions between mathematicians and biologists, often characterized by a sort of one-way relationships, such as mathematicians 'flying in' to solve a specific biological problem by adapting a method from their toolbox. We would like to foster collaborations which are mutually interesting, leading to new developments in both fields. Will we be successful?  Stay tuned and visit this page - we will post here updates about our meetings. And yes, be assured, biscuits will be provided during the meetings ...

We may also extend the meetings to external invited researchers - if you are interested in participating, please get in touch!


Second Biology - Mathematics Meeting 
20 November 2013

Zoology Museum (Wallace building) Biosciences Department

15:15 Welcome

15:20 - 15:40  Dr. Aurelio Arranz-Carreno, Math 
Title: On the numerical solution of some problems in multiphysics: fluid-structure interaction
Abstract: My main research interest lies in the efficient numerical simulation of large scale problems where multiple physical phenomena interact (e.g. solid deformation, fluid flow, electromagnetic field, etc). In this talk I will focus mainly on fluid-structure interaction problems, and their potential applications for the simulation of problems from biology and microbiology. The applications that I have considered so far range from cardiovascular modelling (i.e. blood flow through the heart and its interaction with heart valves), to multiphase flow (air-water-solid) for environmental flows, but I envisage extending the numerical methodology that I have developed for problems such as the modelling of cell mechanics, among many others. In this talk, I will try to show, in a colourful way, what I can do, rather than on the technicalities of how I do it.

15:40 - 16:00 Prof. Rory Wilson, Biosciences 
Title: Tracking and modelling animal movements - some novel ideas for collaboration
Abstract: I present recent novel empirical results and theoretical developments, especially concerning the energetics of animal movements and the Energy Landscapes framework, and discuss the implications this has for how we should, and probably should not, model animal movements.

16:00 - 16:20 Coffee/Tea/discussions 

16:20 - 16:40 Dr. Lloyd Bridge,  
Title: Some directions in systems biology, biomathematics and quantitative pharmacology
Abstract: In this talk I'll give a brief overview of some current and planned research directions which reflect my broad interests in mathematical modelling, scientific computing and biomathematics. I'll present some "real-world" scientific problems, and discuss some of the modelling and computational tools for approaching them. The problems range from tracking water in porous media and understanding the effects of plant architecture on cooling to elucidating cell signalling mechanisms in plant development and biomedicine, and pharmacological parameter estimation.

16:40 - 17:00 Dr. Luca Borger, Biosciences 
Title: From quantifying the temporal scales of stationarity in animal movements to transient modelling of animal movements
Abstract: Any single movement event of an animal leads by definition to the displacement away from the point of departure, but over longer temporal scales often a stationary distribution emerges, whereby animals restrict their movements within confined spaces. Different behaviours and life-history events can lead to the emergence of different confined movement patterns over multiple temporal scales and quantifying the dynamics of stationarity and diffusivity in animal movements, and the underlying drivers, is the key for predicting the spatial distribution of animals under environmental change. Here, I discuss how nonlinear modelling methods can be applied to this problem, evaluate the methods using simulations, and provide a first exemplification of the method using a large-scale roe deer movement dataset covering nearly the entire species range across Europe. Conversely, animal movements are dynamic responses to environmental conditions and internal state, but most (if not all) existing mathematical modelling approaches rely on steady-state equilibrium approaches. I will briefly present ongoing work by researchers from North America I am collaborating with aimed at developing transient modelling approaches for animal movements.

17:00 - 17:30 Further discussions



First Biology - Mathematics Meeting
30 October 2013 

Reading Room (Aubrey Truman Room) Mathematics Department

Begin 15:00     Tea/Coffee

15:05 - 15:20   Dr. Jim Bull, Biosciences
Title: Some questions of noise and space in ecology
Abstract: I am interested in population level questions in ecology, involving a range of mechanistic and statistical modelling approaches. I have looked at various of spatial processes, particularly those underpinning metapopulation dynamics, as well as the role of demographic and environmental noise in ecology. Here, I will briefly describe how my research interests have developed from analysis of controlled and replicated insect microcosms in the laboratory, to some more complex modelling of emergent spatial processes in natural ecosystems.

15:20 - 15:35   Dr. Dmitri Finkelshtein, Mathematics
Title: Spatiotemporal evolutions of complex biological systems: from individual behavior to population dynamics
Abstract: We consider a general mathematical approach to study random evolution of complex systems arising from the models of mathematical biology, population ecology etc. These models describe spatiotemporal behavior of collections of interacting elements and demonstrate the so-called collective behavior that means appearance of system properties which are not peculiar to inner nature of each element itself. Such models are often straightforward to simulate but difficult to analyze mathematically. In our framework, individual organisms are represented by points in space, so that demographic processes such as birth, death, and dispersal can be represented by the appearance, disappearance, and movement of points. This individual-based perspective gives to the assumptions and parameters clear biological interpretations and allows demographic stochasticity to be incorporated in a natural way. Before, spatial point process models have typically been analyzed with the help of a moment closure, i.e., by truncating the infinite hierarchy of moments (density, pair-correlation, higher-order correlations) by assuming a specific relationship between higher-order and lower-order moments. However, moment closures are uncontrolled approximations whose suitability to a particular modeling question is difficult to establish a priori, and the optimal closure may depend on the problem and the parameter regime. Our framework provides mathematically rigorous and practical approach for theoretical biologists to show how spatial moment equations of all orders can be systematically derived from the underlying individual-based assumptions. Further, we will go beyond mean-field theory by discussing how spatial moment equations can be perturbatively expanded around the mean-field model. 

15:35 - 15:50   Dr. Carlos Garcia de Leaniz, Biosciences
Title: Making sense of a fishy world under data-deficient scenarios - Some ramblings for potential mathematical/ecological discussion
Abstract: It has been said that 'Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises (Samuel Butler), and Science is not different. But some sciences are  worse than others, ecology in particular being notoriously bad. I am interested in exploring ways of drawing more robust conclusions from what will always be data-poor scenarios. My field is fish and fisheries but these ideas may be fruitful to other domains as well:
1. The Science of truncated and extreme values, take 1: The Power Law. The power law is ubiquitous in nature, it is used to predict the occurrence of earthquakes and flood events but it is not commonly applied in ecology or conservation. I would like to explore possibilities of applying the power to predict the incidence of small magnitude events, which are typically unrecorded, from the known frequency of big large events. This could be applied to, for example,  calculating the significance of diffuse pollution from large pollution incidents, or the regular leakage of invasive fish from the massive escape events recorded in aquaculture.
2. The Science of truncated and extreme values, take 2: Trophy fish. I am interested in extreme values, for example in the size of trophy fish, as often these are the only ones recorded. Obviously trophy fish are not a random sample of the population, but can temporal records of their sizes tell us something about population trends? how? under which conditions?
3. The Science of truncated and extreme values, take 3:  The problem of accounting for zero-catches. In many fisheries good records are available of catches obtained by successful fishermen but unsuccessful fishers go unrecorded which makes it difficult to estimate true fishing effort. If a plausible model (perhaps starting with the negative binomial?) could be developed for predicting the occurrence of 'zero catch' from the observation of successful catches, better estimates of fish stock abundance would be possible.
4. Time to event.  Collecting data in fisheries is often costly, and not always timely. It sometimes only provides what has been termed 'science for the eulogy'. But can cheaper, alternative sampling regimes do just as well? For example, is it possible to predict the likely abundance of a fish stock (or any other resource) by simply recording how long it takes to catch the first few fish? More generally, can we use 'time to capture' as an indicator of abundance? This would be useful for adaptive management, as fishing could be closed if prospects did not look too good, potentially a wise decision.
5. Quantifying Environmental Uncertainty. Natural selection is always late, as it is always one step behind environmental change. Yet, individuals that can predict (or a least prepare) for future change should be favoured. Our ability to examine this fundamental tenet of evolution is hampered by the difficulty of defining (and measuring) precisely environmental uncertainty. Could we use time series for this? Since most organisms have some form of memory, perhaps uncertainty could be assessed by time lags? i.e. could we argue that weaker and longer time lags would define less predictable environments?

15:50 - 16:20   Tea/Coffee/discussions

16:20 - 16:35   Dr. Chenggui Yuan, Math
Title: SDEs and SDDEs in population dynamics.
Abstract: I will start with deterministic population model, for example:  exponential model,Verhulst model, Logistic model, I will introduce how to use  stochastic differential equations (SDEs) and stochastic differential delay equations (SDDEs) to describe population dynamics.

16:35 - 16:50   Dr. Mike Fowler, Biosciences
Title: Confounding the Colour and Shape of Stochastic (Environmental) Processes
Abstract: Coloured stochastic (noise) processes are random processes that show characteristic changes over time or space, either changing more slowly (red: low frequencies dominate) or rapidly (blue: high frequencies dominate) than purely random (white: no dominant frequencies) processes. I will show that the two most common discrete time methods for generating coloured series - AR(1) and 1/f models - both generate non-normally distributed series over long, but finite scales. This means that comparisons between phenomena that are affected by white or coloured noise will potentially be affected not only by changes in colour, but also by changes in the shape (skewness and kurtosis) of the stochastic process driving dynamics. I will demonstrate how this confounding effect modifies extinction risk predictions, based on the interaction between coloured noise and density-dependence in ecological models. This presentation is based on simulation results, but also represents an invitation to develop exact mathematical results with any interested participants! 

16:50 - 17:05   Dr. Elaine Crooks, Math
Title: From competition systems to travelling waves to cell signalling
Abstract: My research centres on singular limits and non-standard boundary conditions for nonlinear elliptic and parabolic systems, and front propagation and interface problems. I will briefly outline three topics with links to biology: 
a.large-interaction limits of nonlinear elliptic and parabolic systems arising from strong competition in population dynamics;
b.non-standard  nonlinear parabolic systems that occur in e.g. cell biology models of interaction of kinase molecules and membrane receptors;
c.travelling waves in reaction-diffusion systems, particularly in the presence of convection or an underlying drift in the environment.

17:05 - 17:30: Further discussions



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