Mathematical Biology


Group overview

The Mathematical Biology Group at UBC is an interdisciplinary research group that applies mathematics in a wide range of biological fields including immunology, epidemiology, molecular, cell and developmental biology, electrophysiology and neuroscience, ecology, game theory and evolution. Specific areas of focus include protein interactions and protein mobility, regulation of gene expression, cell behaviour, tissue mechanics, immune responses, epidemic dynamics, bacterial cell division, the evolution of cooperation, game theory, speciation, and social aggregation (swarming). The group consists of a large group of core faculty members, some with cross appointments, and many affiliated faculty in mathematics and other departments, and a good number of postdoctoral researchers and graduate students. It is one of Canada‚Äôs largest and most established math biology groups.

info for prospective students

We teach undergraduate and graduate courses in mathematical biology. Graduate students receive degrees (Master's and PhD) as members of the UBC Institute of Applied Mathematics. We are always interested to hear from potential graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. We recruit from many different backgrounds, including mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, statistics, engineering and the biological sciences. We often supervise undergraduate thesis projects (for instance, from the Biophysics and Integrated Science programs) and take on undergraduate students as volunteers (REX) and through summer award programs (NSERC USRA and WLI URA).


Faculty Research Interests
Daniel Coombs immune cell biophysics, microscopy, disease dynamics
Eric Cytrynbaum Self-organization and pattern formation in cell and developmental biology; cardiac electrophysiology; dynamics of excitable systems.
Khanh Dao Duc Molecular and Cell biology, Gene expression, Cryo-EM microscopy, Biological shape analysis, Machine learning, Applied stochastic process
Michael Doebeli Foundations of evolutionary theory, evolution in high-dimensional phenotype spaces, multi-level selection, and cultural evolution in human societies.
Leah Edelstein-Keshet Models for cell motility, social aggregation and swarming
James (Jimmy) Feng Cell and tissue mechanics, fluid dynamics, complex fluids
Christoph Hauert Evolutionary game theory, structured populations, cooperation, reward and punishment.
Yue-Xian Li Calcium dynamics, signal transduction in cells, biophysics, neuroscience.
Geoffrey Schiebinger optimization, single cell analysis, applied probability
Emeritus Research Interests
Fred Brauer Mathematical modelling of epidemiological problems and population systems, with emphasis on the dynamical system aspects and approaches
Postdoctoral Researchers Research Interests
Andreas Buttenschoen
Laurent MacKay
Graduate Students Research Interests
Rebeca Cardim Falcao Biophysics, particle tracking analysis
Katharine Faulkner Mathematical Biology
Sarafa Adewale Iyaniwura Applied PDE, asymptotic analysis and perturbation methods, applied dynamical systems, reaction-diffusion systems, quorum and diffusion sensing, infectious disease modeling.
Shikun Nie
Merlin Pelz Nonlinear dynamics, analysis (real, complex, numerical, stochastic), probability, PDEs, SDEs, applied mathematics (especially to biology)
Jaye Sudweeks
Navjot Virk
Liam Yih Biophysics, virus dynamics