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*EPSRC* Developing realistic mathematical models of cell movement and interaction

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  • Full or part time
    Dr R Grima
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Cell movement and cell-cell interactions play key roles in determining correlations in the relative cell positions and velocities in cell populations. Mathematical models of such systems have typically been deterministic, i.e., consisting of a set of coupled partial differential equations describing the temporal and spatial evolution of the local cell number density. However it is well known that such models are only accurate in the limit of large population densities. It is often the case that the number density of cells is low in some regions of space; in such a scenario, random fluctuations in the cell numbers become important and cannot be neglected. Stochastic models hence constitute a more general framework for modelling cell populations but their analysis is substantially more difficult than that of deterministic models. In this project, the aim is to develop novel methods to extract biologically relevant information from stochastic models of cell populations, as well as to develop new computationally efficient means of simulating such models.

This project is ideal for a student with a Bachelors or Masters in Applied Mathematics, Physics or Engineering. Previous familiarity with mathematical modelling in biology is useful but not a necessity.

The student will be given extensive interdisciplinary training in deterministic and stochastic modelling in biology in their first year to ensure a solid foundation. The student will be co-supervised by Dr. Ramon Grima ( and Dr. Nikola Popovic ( and will be part of the Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology (SynthSys) at the University of Edinburgh.

Funding Notes

This project is eligible for EPSRC funding and is open to UK nationals (or EU students who have been resident in the UK for 3+ years immediately prior to the programme start date)

Deadline for applications: 27 July 2018


Newman TJ, Grima R. 2004. Many-body theory of chemotactic interactions. Physical Review E. 70:051916.

Grima R. 2008. Multiscale modeling of biological pattern formation. Current Topics in Developmental Biology. 81:435.

Middleton A, Fleck C and Grima R. 2014. A continuum approximation to an off-lattice, individual-cell based model of cell migration and adhesion. Journal of Theoretical Biology 359: 220

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Edinburgh in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 109.70

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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