Thursday, 20 March 2014

BioMaths Colloquium Series - 21 May 2014

BioMaths Colloquium Series
21 March 2014 - 3pm 
Seminar Room 224 

Maths Department (2nd floor Talbot Building)

Blood and Blastocysts: mathematical ecological thinking on developmental biology

Dr. Michael Bonsall

Image from

Developmental biology is a fundamental research field in biology, aimed at understanding the processes through which undifferentiated cells turn into specialized cells, distributed in precise spatial arrangements, to form multicellular organisms. Whilst in the past it has been sometimes claimed that developmental biology is the last refuge of the mathematically incompetent scientist (see here), the quest for general principles and precise mechanisms has heavily relied also on mathematical modelling. 

Our first speaker of the new BioMaths Colloquium Series, Dr. Michael Bonsall from the University of Oxford,  will present and discuss new ideas from his recent and current research in this area. Mike is a mathematical ecologist, head of the Mathematical Ecology Research Group, and he uses mathematical approaches to explore new problems in ecology, evolution, health and economics.     

In this talk I will review some recent work on the theoretical developmental biology. In particular I will introduce the idea that ecological thinking, particularly ideas from population biology, are crucially important in understanding the dynamics of stem cell systems and the allocation of cells in early mammalian blastocysts. I will use modelling approaches and data to stimulate discussion at this interface between maths, ecology and developmental biology.

FIg. 1 from Mangel & Bonsall (2013)

Everyone most welcome to attend!

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