The Colloquia are followed by a reception designed to give people the opportunity to have more informal contact with the speaker. A book display will be available at this time in the common room. The series is funded, in part, through the generous support of Oxford University Press.

The colloquia are aimed towards a general mathematical audience.

Please note that the list below only shows forthcoming events, which may not include regular events that have not yet been entered for the forthcoming term. Please see the past events page for a list of all seminar series that the department has on offer.

Past events in this series
8 June 2018
Philip Maini, Edward Morrissey, Heather Harrington

1600-1645 - Philip Maini
1645-1705 - Edward Morrissey
1705-1725 - Heather Harrington
1725-1800 - Drinks and networking

The talks will be followed by a drinks reception.

Tickets can be obtained from
(As ever, tickets are not necessary, but they do help in judging catering requirements.)


Does mathematics have anything to do with biology? In this talk, I will review a number of interdisciplinary collaborations in which I have been involved over the years that have coupled mathematical modelling with experimental studies to try to advance our understanding of processes in biology and medicine. Examples will include somatic evolution in tumours, collective cell movement in epithelial sheets, cell invasion in neural crest, and pattern formation in slime mold. These are examples where verbal reasoning models are misleading and insufficient, while mathematical models can enhance our intuition.


Fixation and spread of somatic mutations in adult human colonic epithelium Cancer causing mutations must become permanently fixed within tissues. I will describe how, by visualizing somatic clones, we investigated the means and timing with which this occurs in the human colonic epithelium. Modelling the effects of gene mutation, stem cell dynamics and subsequent lateral expansion revealed that fixation required two sequential steps. First, one of around seven active stem cells residing within each colonic gland has to be mutated. Second, the mutated stem cell has to replace neighbours to populate the entire gland. This process takes many years because stem cell replacement is infrequent (around once every 9 months). Subsequent clonal expansion due to gland fission is also rare for neutral mutations. Pro-oncogenic mutations can subvert both stem cell replacement to accelerate fixation and clonal expansion by gland fission to achieve high mutant allele frequencies with age. The benchmarking and quantification of these behaviours allows the advantage associated with different gene specific mutations to be compared and ranked irrespective of the cellular mechanisms by which they are conferred. The age related mutational burden of advantaged mutations can be predicted on a gene-by-gene basis to identify windows of opportunity to affect fixation and limit spread.


Comparing models with data using computational algebra In this talk I will discuss how computational algebraic geometry and topology can be useful for studying questions arising in systems biology. In particular I will focus on the problem of comparing models and data through the lens of computational algebraic geometry and statistics. I will provide concrete examples of biological signalling systems that are better understood with the developed methods.

15 June 2018

Mathematical models based on first principles can describe the interaction between electrical, mechanical and fluid-dynamical processes occurring in the heart. This is a classical multi-physics problem. Appropriate numerical strategies need to be devised to allow for an effective description of the fluid in large and medium size arteries, the analysis of physiological and pathological conditions, and the simulation, control and shape optimisation of assisted devices or surgical prostheses. This presentation will address some of these issues and a few representative applications of clinical interest.

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