Dr Thomas Woolley
Lecturer in Applied Mathematics
Mathematical biology, Morphogenesis, Reaction-diffusion theory, Cellular motion, Stochastic dynamics, Neurobiology, Oncology.
Dr Thomas Woolley studied mathematics at University of Oxford between 2004-2017. Through his education he ended up specializing in mathematical biology, where his doctorate focused on understanding the pattern formation behind fish spots and zebra stripes. Alongside this research he now investigates mathematical models of stem cell movement. The hope is that by understanding how stem cells move we can influence them and, thus, speed up the healing process.
When not doing mathematics he is a keen participant in mathematical outreach workshops and has given a variety of popular maths lectures nationally and internationally. He has previously worked for the BBC, illustrated Marcus du Sautoy’s book and worked on the popular maths show “Dara O’Briains school of hard sums”. Most recently he was the Fellow of Modern Mathematics at the London Science Museum and is helped redesign their mathematics gallery.
My research focuses on understanding emergent properties and producing rigorous limits, which allow us to scale between discrete elements and continuous systems. Specifically, my doctoral research considered the link between continuous reaction-diffusion equations and their agent-based analogues.
More recently, I have been working on newly discovered cellular protrusions, which are able to affect a variety of cellular phenomena, such as motion and division. In collaboration with the University of Reading I am researching muscle stem cells that navigate towards regions of muscular damage resulting in muscle healing and regeneration. In particular, I am deriving analytical links between the spatio-temporal discrete protrusions of an individual cell and the continuous population distribution and movement of the stem cells. Critically, we have been able to use this model to algebraically couple traits in the observable cellular motion to unobservable structural features of the cell membrane.