People

University of Leeds

Professor Mauro Mobilia – Principal Investigator (Applied Mathematics, EPSRC)

I obtained my PhD in 2002 from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) for a thesis on non-equilibrium statistical physics. From 2002 to 2005, I was a postdoc at Boston University and Virginia Tech supported by a Fellowship of the Swiss National Science Foundation. In 2005, I was awarded a Humboldt Research Fellowship that I held at the University of Munich (LMU) until 2007. I then received an Advanced Research Fellowship to work at the University of Warwick (2007-2009). Since 2009, I am at the Leeds School of Mathematics where I am a Full Professor (Chair) of Applied Mathematics.

My research is concerned with multidisciplinary applications of non-equilibrium statistical physics to problems of evolutionary dynamics, and to complex systems in the life and behavioural sciences. Some important challenges in these areas concern the evolution of cooperative behaviour, the maintenance of biodiversity, and the dynamics of interacting populations. Our mathematical modelling is usually carried out at the individual-based level and leads to stochastic many-body problems. I am the Principal Investigator of the EPSRC-NSF-funded project “Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics of Fluctuating Populations”. My publications can be found on Google Scholar, ResearchGate and ORCiD

Professor Alastair M. Rucklidge – Co-investigator (Applied Mathematics, EPSRC)

I earned my PhD from Cambridge in 1992, moved to Leeds in 2000 with an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship, and became a Professor in 2007. I held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2018–19 on “Complex and disordered patterns”. My main interests are in nonlinear dynamics and pattern formation in problems ranging from fluid dynamics, reaction–diffusion systems, soft matter, and population dynamics. I have worked on understanding network effects on opinion dynamics and spiral waves in spatially extended Rock–Paper–Scissors models of cyclic dominance, extending this recently to Rock–Paper–Scissors–Lizard–Spock.

Dr Lluís Hernandez-Navarro – Postdoctoral researcher (Applied Mathematics, EPSRC funded)

I studied physics in the Universitat de Barcelona (2008-2012), where I later took a master in Biophysics (2012-2014). Then, I did my PhD in the Neurophysics group of Jordi Soriano (2014-2018), conducting both experiments and theory on the initiation and propagation of activity in neuronal cultures. After earning my PhD, I joined the Computational Neuroscience group of Jaime de la Rocha at IDIBAPS (Barcelona) as a junior postdoc for three years, and under the co-supervision of Alexandre Hyafil from Centre de Recerca Matemàtica. Since the start of 2022, I am working in the project Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics of Fluctuating Populations as senior postdoc in the group of Mauro Mobilia and Alastair M. Rucklidge, at the University of Leeds. Outside work, I enjoy playing social sports (currently Football 7), love hiking, and struggle to find time to connect with my gamer side.

Matthew Asker – PhD student (Applied Mathematics, EPSRC funded)

From October 2021, I have been working towards obtaining my PhD in Applied Mathematics titled “Evolution of Populations in Fluctuating Environments”. Prior to this, I completed my undergraduate master’s degree in Theoretical Physics at the University of Manchester (2017-2021) where my master’s thesis investigated the use of modified percolation in modelling the spread of COVID-19. My main research interests are in mathematical biology and complex systems. In my current research, I am considering the interplay between ecological and evolutionary processes in well-mixed populations of bacteria, and hope to unveil some mechanisms for the promotion of co-operation as a strategy in these systems. These findings are relevant to the global issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and so could have implications for the clinical use of antimicrobials.

Virginia Tech

Professor Uwe Täuber – Collaborator (Physics, NSF)

I received my physics diploma and doctoral degree from the Technical University of Munich in 1992. After postdoctoral research at Harvard University and Oxford University, I joined the faculty of the Physics Department at Virginia Tech in 1998. My research interests in theoretical condensed matter and statistical physics reside primarily in the study of complex non-equilibrium systems, with applications that range from materials science to ecology and epidemiology. I was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2013, and served as inaugural Director of Virginia Tech’s Center for Soft Matter and Biological Physics from 2016 to 2022. I am currently also the Lead Editor of Physical Review E.

Professor Michel Pleimling – Collaborator (Physics, NSF)

I received my doctoral degree from the Universität des Saarlandes in Germany. Before joining the faculty at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, I spent my postdoctoral years in Aachen (Germany), Erlangen (Germany), and Nancy (France). I joined the faculty of Virginia Tech’s Physics Department in 2006. In 2015 I was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society “For seminal and sustained contributions to computational statistical physics, specifically his investigations of complex systems far from thermal equilibrium, and in-depth understanding of non-equilibrium relaxation and physical aging phenomena.” My research interests are very broad, with a focus on many-body systems far from equilibrium, ranging from relaxation phenomena in magnetic systems to population dynamics.

Mohamed Swailem – PhD student (Physics, NSF)

I am a Physics PhD student at Virginia tech in Prof. Täuber’s group. We are interested in looking at population dynamics models with varying environments. Our group mainly focuses on spatial lattice models and investigate the effects of environmental variations on species coexistence and spatiotemporal pattern stability. My main interest is in using both simulations and field-theoretic approaches to investigate ecological systems under environmental variation in order to understand species diversity.

 

Kenneth Distefano – PhD student (Physics, NSF)

I obtained my bachelor of science in physics at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in 2020. Currently, I am a physics PhD student at Virginia Tech under the supervision of Dr. Uwe Täuber, where I am interested in studying the dynamics of stochastic processes through Monte Carlo simulations and analytical calculations.

 

 

Imperial College London

Dr Jose Jimenez – Collaborator (Biology)
Dr. Jose Jiménez is a molecular biologist that earned his Ph.D. in environmental microbiology in 2006 working for Spanish Research Council (CIB-CSIC). After that he moved into systems and synthetic biology of bacteria in postdoctoral stays in the National Center for Biotechnology (CSIC; Spain), Harvard University (USA) as a Fellow for the Foundational Questions in Evolutionary Biology program and the Synthetic Biology Center at MIT (USA). Jose was appointed as Lecturer in Synthetic Biology in 2014 at the University of Surrey and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2018. He joined the Dpt. of Life Sciences at Imperial College London in 2020.

 

Said Munoz Montero – PhD student (Biology)

I hold a biotechnology engineering degree from Tec de Monterrey and a biochemistry master’s degree from UNAM, Mexico. I am a PhD student in Life Science Research and President’s PhD Scholar at Imperial College London. My research is focused on the dynamics of microbial populations in fluctuating environments with a focus on antibiotic resistance mechanisms and their transmission supervised by Dr José Jiménez Zarco.