Prof Barry HUGHES


School of Mathematics and Statistics

  • Room: G20
  • Building: Peter Hall Building
  • Campus: Parkville

Research Interests

  • Applied Mathematical Methods
  • Probability Modelling
  • Mathematical Biology
  • Continuum Modelling
  • Random Walks
  • Random Environments

Research Groups

Recent Publications

  • J. Sader, B. Hughes, F Huber, FJ Giessibl. Publisher Correction: Interatomic force laws that evade dynamic measurement.. Nature nanotechnology, 298 (1pp), 2019. doi: 10.1038/s41565-019-0364-7.

  • P. Nan, D. Walsh, K. Landman, B. Hughes. Distinguishing cell shoving mechanisms.. PLoS One, 13, e0193975 (21pp), 2018. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193975.

  • B. Hughes. Watching the Internal Clock of Cells while They Move and Divide.. Biophys J, 114, 1007-1008, 2018. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2018.02.001.

  • Roger D Cousens, B. Hughes, Mohsen B Mesgaran. Why we do not expect dispersal probability density functions based on a single mechanism to fit real seed shadows. Journal of Ecology, 106, 903-906, 2018. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12891.

  • T. Leung, Patricia T Campbell, B. Hughes, F. Frascoli, J. McCaw. Infection-acquired versus vaccine-acquired immunity in an SIRWS model. Infectious Disease Modelling, 3, 118-135, 2018. doi: 10.1016/j.idm.2018.06.002.

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Extra Information

Research: I have been working in applied probability for more than 35 years and am the author of two books in the area: B.D. Hughes, Random Walks and Random Environments. Volume 1: Random Walks (Oxford University Press, 1995). B.D. Hughes, Random Walks and Random Environments. Volume 2: Random Environments. (Oxford University Press, 1996). I have also worked often on deterministic problems that require a variety of techniques. Some of my work is motivated by general mathematical curiosity, but much of my work springs from questions in a variety of practical contexts. I have collaborated with researchers from many fields and worked on problems motivated by applications from physics and physical chemistry, engineering, actuarial science, social phenomena, and increasingly in recent years, applications from biology and medicine. My interests in academic governanance of universities has led to published research on timetabling and internal reports on admission standards. More details of my research work and download links for some of my publications can be found on my personal home page (to which a link has been given above).

Teaching: Since 2008 I have been privileged to teach introductory real analysis and related mathematics to our best-prepared incoming students in their first year at The University of Melbourne. I also teach third-year complex analysis and have also taught methods of applied mathematics based around ordinary and partial differential equations. Over the course of a long career I have taught material from many other areas including integral transforms, asymptotic methods and practical complex analysis, probability and its applications, continuum mechanics, basic calculus, and linear algebra. I am particularly interested in promoting correct conceptual understanding rather than mere rote learning.

Academic administration: My principal interests have been in undergraduate and postgraduate selection policies and practices, the interface between school and university mathematics education, and the effects of English language background on student progress. I also have considerable experience in academic timetabling, and in equal employment opportunity for women. I am keenly interested in questions of academic governance and collegial decision making. From 2015 to 2017, i was a University of Melbourne Council Fellow, elected by the professors to represent them at meetings of the University Council.

Past Postgraduate Supervision

Name Thesis title
James CAFFREY "Mathematical modelling of layering in nature"
Anna CAI "Mathematical modelling of cell populations in experimental systems: migration, proliferation and differentiation"
Rebecca CHISHOLM "Mathematical modelling of cell migration and biological systems driven by cell proliferation"
Jesse COLLIS "Unsteady motion of small particles in fluid: from autonomous propulsion to the interrogation of liquid-solid interfaces"
Tiffany (Ngo Nam) LEUNG "Models of infectious disease transmission to explore the effects of immune boosting"
Liam MERLOT "Techniques for academic timetabling"
Catherine PENINGTON "Modelling cell movement in multicellular systems"
Jennifer SLATER "Growing network models with an application to neurogenesis"
Amy SULLIVAN "Chemical signals in interneuron migration: modelling repulsion and inhibition"
Dimetre TRIADIS "Indentation models for colloid science and nanotechnology"

Current MSc Students

Name Project title

Past MSc Students

Name Project title
Axel ALMET "Multiscale modelling of intestinal crypt fission"
Christopher BAKER "Random walks in random environments with local dynamic interactions"
Phillip BROWN "How oligomerisation impacts steady state gradient in a morphogen–receptor system"
Catherine BROWNE "Oscillations of a cantilever in a fluid"
Bevan CHEESEMAN "Cell motility: a probabilistic modelling framework for single cell movement with explicit extracellular matrix modelling"
Rebecca CHISHOLM "Cell Proliferation in a Scaffold"
Marselinus Ulu F
Madeleine HUGGINS "Blind and myopic interacting random walkers"
Kit JOYCE "Chemotaxis: from cells to swarms"
Daniel MENTIPLAY "T Cell Development in the Thymus "
Bruce RIDING "Plant Spread from a Single Source"
James WOODCOCK "Mortal Polygamous Networks"
Alexander ZAREBSKI "Snips and trips"

Recent Grant History

Year(s) Source Type Title
2014 - 2016 ARC Discovery Building macroscale models from microscale probabilistic models (080075)
2011 - 2013 ARC Discovery From single cell to collective cell migration in multicellular systems: mathematical and computational modelling of real biological systems
2011 - 2013 ARC Discovery Modelling and simulation of self-organised behaviour in biological and bio-inspired systems


  • Academic Board member
  • Academic Programs Committee member
  • Building Renovations Advisor
  • Continuum Modelling Seminar Coordinator
  • Course advisors - Upper Undergraduate


  • Math. Sciences Library Users Committee
  • Strategic Planning Committee