Hooke Research Fellow and Senior Demy (Magdalen College)
University of Oxford
Andrew Wiles Building
Radcliffe Observatory Quarter
Subpopulations and stability in microbial communities
Physical Review Research issue 2 volume 2 (12 May 2020)
Shape-shifting polyhedral droplets
Physical Review Research issue 2 volume 1 (16 September 2019)
Nonlinear and nonlocal elasticity in coarse-grained differential-tension models of epithelia
Physical Review E issue 2 volume 99 (19 February 2019)
Embryonic inversion in
: The flipping and peeling of elastic lips
Physical Review E issue 5 volume 98 (30 November 2018)
The noisy basis of morphogenesis: Mechanisms and mechanics of cell sheet folding inferred from developmental variability
PLOS Biology issue 7 volume 16 page e2005536-e2005536 (12 July 2018)
Mathematical models with frills
eLife volume 8 (25 June 2019)
Theory of Shape-Shifting Droplets
Physical Review Letters issue 8 volume 118 (21 February 2017)
Elasticity and glocality: initiation of embryonic inversion in
Journal of The Royal Society Interface issue 112 volume 12 page 20150671-20150671 (6 November 2015)
Dynamics of aVolvoxEmbryo Turning Itself Inside Out
Physical Review Letters issue 17 volume 114 (27 April 2015)
Oxfold: kinetic folding of RNA using stochastic context-free grammars and evolutionary information.
Bioinformatics (Oxford, England) issue 6 volume 29 page 704-710 (8 February 2013)
I am an applied mathematician, and my research is at the interface of biophysics, soft matter physics, and mathematical biology.
Mechanics of Developmental Biology
- Inversion in Volvox: The inversion process in the green alga Volvox, spherical sheets of cells that turn themselves inside out through a small hole at the top, is a model for morphogenesis. In a series of papers and in collaboration with experimentalists, I have explored the mechanical underpinnings of this process; in particular, we showed how to access biological mechanical information hidden in the variability of experimental data.
- Continuum mechanics of cell sheets: The continuum constitutive laws describing active material such as epithelial tissues are poorly understood. Taking an explicit continuum limit of a simple discrete model of an epithelium, we have shown how cell-level properties lead to nonlinear and nonlocal behaviour at the continuum level.
Other research interests
- Shape-shifting droplets: Shape generating chemical systems are a very literal instantiation of Turing's quest for the chemical basis of morphogenesis. In collaboration with experimental groups, I have developed a theory describing a recently discovered exemplar of such a system: oil emulsion droplets that flatten into a variety of polygonal shapes upon slow cooling.
- Stability of ecological communities: The classical question of theoretical ecology is: is coexistence in a population model stable? We have explored the effect of subpopulation structure (such as phenotypic variation) on the stability of coexistence in Lotka-Volterra models of competing species. In particular, we reveal the surprising stabilising effect of a rare phenotype.
- Physics of RNA secondary structure formation: Can incoroporating physical models of e.g. kinetic transcription effects improve probabilistic models for the prediction of RNA secondary structure, such as those based on context-free grammars.