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Investigating Noise in Ageing Cellular Power Stations

   Department of Mathematics

  Prof Nick Jones  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

London United Kingdom Applied Mathematics Applied Statistics Bioinformatics Biophysics Data Science Evolution Genetics Machine Learning Stochastic Processes Theoretical Physics

About the Project

PhD Project: Imperial College Mathematics

Student Background: Theoretical Physics, Mathematics/Statistics, Electrical Engineering (Biological knowledge not required) or Quantitative Biology with an interest in experiment.

We have been investigating (genetic) variation in cellular power stations (mitochondria) using a mix of ideas from stochastic population processes/statistical genetics, statistical physics, statistical inference and control theory. You can read more about our recent work in our blog: or links via We believe this is a particularly exciting area to study for two reasons. Not only does 1) mitochondrial (dys)function have deep connections to therapies for conditions like Parkinsons, Diabetes, ageing and Cancer (and we are working on these) it is 2) a topic that, though poorly understood, might be susceptible to the very basic (though mathematically nuanced) models that one constructs in theoretical and mathematical physics/ statistical genetics. This is an area where students can explore a new scientific direction since the medical promise and scientific opportunities easily exceed the number of theorists. The student will investigate the construction of basic models and make connections with existing data and the work of our national and international collaborators (Cambridge, UCL, Madrid, Vienna).

We will place a substantial emphasis on single-cell sequencing and single-cell transcriptomics (these are among the most active areas of modern biomedicine): this involves aspects of machine learning and bioinformatics. We will be building stochastic models that link to the results of our inference from the transcriptomics.

Though the project has experimental collaborators the project does not require experiments by the student or any biological background; however theorists that want to try their hand at experiment are most welcome.

If you are an experimentalist we are also interested in possible collaborations e.g. with Prof Patrick Chinnery in Cambridge -- please send your CV.

We are looking for passion and scientific intuition. We specifically welcome students from underrepresented groups and value a kind environment prioritising purposeful happiness.

You can learn about the research of the systems and signals group on our site:

and from our blog:

or twitter:

Our group is a member of Imperial’s EPSRC Centre for the Mathematics of Precision Healthcare:

Further enquiries - contact with a CV detailing academic performance (i.e. including as detailed as possible information about grades/marks or equivalent):

Nick Jones (Imperial Mathematics)


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