What is Mathematical Biology?

Mathematical Biology is an exciting area of applied mathematics devoted to the modelling, analysis and simulation of complex biological and medical systems.

What is the job of mathematical biologists?

Mathematical biologists study a wide range of biomedical systems (very often in close collaboration with experimentalists and clinicians in inter-disciplinary research) across a wide range of both spatial and temporal scales: from nano-particles to proteins to populations, from micro to macro via meso, from genes to cells to tissues, from milli-seconds to minutes to millennia.

Which questions can be answered through Mathematical Biology?

How did the leopard get its spots? How quickly does an epidemic spread? How invasive is a cancer? How do cells migrate? How are embryos formed? The answers to these and many other fascinating and fundamental biomedical questions can be answered through Mathematical Biology. In the words of Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson:

“Cell and tissue, shell and bone, leaf and flower, are so many portions of matter, and it is in obedience to the laws of physics that their particles have been moved, moulded and conformed. They are no exceptions to the rule that God always geometrizes. Their problems of form are in the first instance mathematical problems, their problems of growth are essentially physical problems, and the morphologist is, ipso facto, a student of physical science.”

Why study Mathematical Biology in St Andrews?

Although the current group started in 2015 with the appointment of Professor Mark Chaplain to the Gregory Chair of Applied Mathematics, Mathematical Biology has a long and distinguished tradition at St Andrews, going back almost a century to Professor Sir D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, who was Professor of Natural History at the University of St Andrews from 1917-1948. St Andrews has strong historical connections with another giant of modern Mathematical Biology, Professor James D. Murray, who graduated with a B.Sc. 1st Class Honours in Mathematics in 1953, and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics in 1956.

What Courses are on offer?

There are currently two honours level modulues on offer in mathematical biology:
Mathematical Biology 1
Mathematical Biology 2