Thursday, 7 December 2017

BioMaths Colloquium - 08/12/2017

BioMaths Colloquium Series - 2017/18

08 December 2017 - 3pm Maths Seminar Room

(room 224 Talbot Building 2nd floor)


Information sensitivity functions to assess parameter information gain and identifiability of dynamical systems

Dr Sanjay Pant


(College of Engineering, Swansea UniversityUK) 


We conclude the BioMaths Colloquium Series for this Autumn term with a seminar by Dr Sanjay Pant, from the College of Engineering at Swansea University (UK). Sanjay's research ranges from cardiovascular modelling and medical device design and optimisation, to reduced order and probabilistic modelling, forward and inverse uncertainty propagation, surrogate modelling, information theory, and inverse problems.


Abstract
A new class of functions, called the 'Information sensitivity functions' (ISFs), which quantify the information gain about the parameters through the measurements/observables of a dynamical system are presented. These functions can be easily computed through classical sensitivity functions alone and are based on Bayesian and information-theoretic approaches. While marginal information gain is quantified by decrease in differential entropy, correlations between arbitrary sets of parameters are assessed through mutual information. For individual parameters these information gains are also presented as marginal posterior variances, and, to assess the effect of correlations, as conditional variances when other parameters are given. 

The easy to interpret ISFs can be used to a) identify time-intervals or regions in dynamical system behaviour where information about the parameters is concentrated; b) assess the effect of measurement noise on the information gain for the parameters; c) assess whether sufficient information in an experimental protocol (input, measurements, and their frequency) is available to identify the parameters; d) assess correlation in the posterior distribution of the parameters to identify the sets of parameters that are likely to be indistinguishable; and e) assess identifiability problems for particular sets of parameters. 

The application of ISFs is presented in three areas of mathematical biosciences: i) a Windkessel model, which is widely used a boundary condition in computational fluid dynamics simulations of haemodynamics; ii) the Hodgkin-Huxley model for a biological neuron, which has formed the basis for a variety of ionic models describing excitable tissues; and iii) a kinetics model for the Influenza A virus.



The discussions will continue over biscuits and tea/coffee after the seminar. 
Hope to see many of you!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 30 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2017
30 November 2017 - 1pm - Zoology Museum



Social structure and life-history evolution in resident killer whales

Dr Daniel Franks


University of York, UK

Photo by Dr Dan Franks


Abstract
Why females of some species cease ovulation before the end of their natural lifespan is a longstanding puzzle in life-history evolution. In humans, as well as some natural populations of cetaceans and insects, reproductive aging occurs much faster than somatic aging and females exhibit prolonged post-reproductive lifespans (PRLSs). Determining the mechanisms and functions that underpin PRLSs has proved a significant challenge. Here I bring together both classic and modern hypotheses proposed to explain PRLSs and life-history evolution and discuss their application with particular reference to our studies of killer whales. In doing so I highlight the need to consider multiple interacting explanations for the evolution of PRLSs and discuss the key role of social structure.



Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 23 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2017
23 November 2017 - 1pm - Zoology Museum



Marine megafaunal extinction

Dr Catalina Pimiento


Museum für Naturkunde - Berlin, Germany

from: www.sharkopedia.discovery.com


Abstract
Millions of years ago, an 18 meters shark (Megalodon) used to live in all oceans of the world. How did this shark achieve such a large size? When, how and why did it become extinct? In this seminar, I will be talking about the answers to these questions, which not only provide insights into the role of apex predators in Deep Time, but which lead us to uncover a previously unrecognized extinction event that not only affected Megalodon, but also the global marine megafauna. In contrast with the effects of the extinction of small organisms like invertebrates, this extinction event resulted in an important erosion of functional diversity, leaving communities highly vulnerable to future extinctions, like the one we are facing today. Our next step is therefore to assess the extent of the loss of functional diversity as a consequence of the current extinction crisis, which is particularly affecting large marine vertebrates. 

My work, however, is not only about research questions. Science education and public outreach are an important component of my agenda and I will be sharing those with you as well.




Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!


For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Monday, 13 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 16 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2017
16 November 2017 - 1pm - Zoology Museum



Investigating the links between locomotor morphology, gait and metabolic cost

Dr Kayleigh Rose

from: Science Blogs

Our seminar series continues this week with our very own Dr Kayleigh Rose, Lecturer at our Biosciences Department at Swansea University (UK). Kayleigh's research focusses on biomechanics, with a particular interest in the kinematics and energetics of terrestrial locomotion, in relation to skeletal structure and gait mechanics. Kayleigh has joint out Department in 2017, after a postdoc and PhD at Manchester University.


Abstract
The cost of transport (the energy required to travel a unit distance) is an important measure in investigating the selection pressures that have shaped animal locomotor systems. Extracting generalizations from large-scale comparisons between species is invaluable towards understanding the links between morphology, gait and metabolic cost, but only to a certain extent due to confounding phylogenetic and geometric factors. Here, using measurements collected from domestic chickens, I will highlight how within species comparisons and selectively bred species can offer further insights into the factors influencing the metabolic cost of transport.




Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!


For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Monday, 6 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 09 November 2017

Biosciences Seminar Series - Autumn 2017
09 November 2017 - 1pm - Zoology Museum



The evolutionary and mechanistic drivers of zebra stripes

Prof Tim Caro


We are excited to welcome this week Professor Tim Caro, Professor at the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis (USA), to our Biosciences Autumn Seminar Series. Tim is a behavioural ecologists and conservation biologist and has extensively published in both fields - not 'only' producing key journal papers but also writing and editing key books in these fields. Examples range from the fascinating Cheetahs of the Serengeti Plains and Antipredator Defenses in Birds and Mammals, to the classic textbooks on Behavioural Ecology and Conservation Biology and on Conservation by Proxy, to the recent one on Zebra Stripes. His current research continues to focus on both topics, Animal Coloration in mammals, such as zebra stripes (more on that in the seminar!), and coconut crabs, and Conservation Biology, especially in Tanzania - trying to find ways to halt lion killing in protected areas and the conservation of forest fragments. A key effort is also aimed at linking these two disciplines, by exploring the conceptual links between animal behaviour and conservation.


Abstract
In this talk I will discuss evidence and present new data for and against each of the hypotheses for zebra's extraordinary coat coloration. Homing in on the reason that zebras are striped, I will discuss unpublished information collected on Bristol zebras that is leading to an understanding of how stripes confer a fitness advantage to their bearers. 



Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!


For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

BioMaths Colloquium - 03/11/2017

BioMaths Colloquium Series - 2017/18

03 November 2017 - 3pm Maths Seminar Room

(room 224 Talbot Building 2nd floor)


Mean-Field Models in Biology and Engineering

Prof José Carrillo


(Department of Mathematics, Imperial College LondonUK) 

from: Albi et al. (2013) https://arxiv.org/abs/1304.5459

For our second BioMaths Colloquium Series for the 2017/18 academic year we are delighted to feature a seminar by Prof José Antonio Carrillo de la Plata, from the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College London (UK). José's research uniquely combines the Mathematical and Biological Sciences, such as the use and development of Kinetic and Diffusive Models in Mathematical Biology, from chemotaxis, to swarming and flocking, to computational neuroscience. José holds a Chair in Applied and Numerical Analysis and is also the Chair of the Organizing Committee of the EMS-ESMTB Year of Mathematical Biology 2018


Abstract
I will review different aspects of applications of mean-field models arising in science, technology and life sciences. I will concentrate on 3 models in mathematical biology where these aspects are important in order to produce macroscopic models keeping the right qualitative behaviour. We will focus on swarming models, probabilistic models in computational neuroscience and pattern formation in zebra fish lateral lines. Finally, a model of consensus will be adapted as an algorithm for global optimisation.


The discussions will continue over biscuits and tea/coffee after the seminar. 
Hope to see many of you!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Science Club Events - 02/11/2017

Biosciences Science Club Series - Autumn 2017
02 November 2017 - 1pm - Zoology Museum



Science communication - How to make it engaging & accurate

Caitlin Fikes


We are delighted to welcome Caitlin Fikes to our Science Club series. Caitlin is a writer and associate editor with the wildlife-science magazine Biosphere.


Abstract

Scientists are increasingly asked to increase outreach activities and engaging the public with stories about their research. However, with today’s instant-communication world oversaturated with snippets and soundbytes that are often not fact-checked or reviewed, it’s more important than ever that scientists know how to tell their own stories in a way that is both accurate and interesting and builds public trust in scientists and their work.

I aim to provide examples and tips how to do so – to empower researchers at any stage in their career to effectively engage an audience through passion, humour, and creativity. This presentation will give tips and pointers of how to turn a scientific article into an engaging story, how to avoid the pitfalls of press releases and would give examples of real-life #scicomm heroes and their keys to success. There will also be enough funny Tweets, comics, and sharks guaranteed to keep any student's attention. 



Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!


For the list of forthcoming seminars see here