Special Emphasis Year in Biological Dynamics: Mathematics of Cellular Systems to Epidemics

The School of Mathematics and Statistics 2021 Special Emphasis Year will be on Biological Dynamics: Mathematics of Cellular Systems to Epidemics. We will be constructing a program to build on and promote the internationally recognised expertise within the school in the multi-disciplinary field of Biological Dynamics.

The Special Emphasis Year will be led by Associate Professor Jennifer Flegg and Dr Douglas Brumley, with core members Professor James McCaw, Professor Edmund Crampin, Professor Michael Stumpf, Professor Barry Hughes and Dr James Osborne.

The University’s Computational Biology Hallmark Research Initiative (CBRI) was established in 2014 and fostered a growing campus-wide community using mathematical, statistical and computational techniques to study biological systems. A key outcome of the CBRI has been the identification and consolidation of two major areas of research strength across the University, broadly characterised as 'Statistical Genomics' and 'Biological Dynamics'. The later being research into biological systems in which the study of dynamics is the central unifying feature.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the attention of the world the role that mathematical modelling can play in providing an essential mechanistic understanding of biological systems. Professor James McCaw has been leading the mathematical modelling work that has helped guide the Australian response to the pandemic. The mathematics behind modelling disease outbreaks will be a key theme of our Special Emphasis Year. We will also be highlighting and building on other aspects of our research in areas including systems biology, multicellular biology, tissue dynamics, within-host dynamics and biological fluid dynamics.

Effective reproduction number modelling of COVID-19 in Australia

Effective reproduction number modelling of COVID-19 in Australia.
Source: David Price, Freya Shearer and James McCaw.

Germline simulation snapshots, captured throughout larval development
Kathryn Atwell, Zhao Qin, David Gavaghan, Hillel Kugler, E. Jane Albert Hubbard, and James M. Osborne. Development, 2015, 142(22): 3902-3911.