Iain Johnston (Group Leader)
Iain is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Bergen. His undergraduate was in Natural Sciences at Cambridge and his doctorate was in Theoretical Physics at Oxford with Ard Louis. He did a postdoc with Nick Jones at Oxford, focussing on how mitochondria vary within and between cells. He then moved to the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College London to take up an independent MRC research fellowship, studying the role that physical and genetic variability in mitochondria play in human disease and plant bioenergetics. He then took a Birmingham Fellowship in the University of Birmingham School of Biosciences to develop laboratory and fieldwork approaches to study plant organelles in parallel with a Turing Fellowship from the Alan Turing Institute, before moving to sunny Bergen.
Kostas is a postdoc funded by the ERC through EvoConBiO. He is exploring the links between organismal lifestyle and organelle genome structure, the ongoing games played between organelles and their host cells, and theoretical (but useful!) questions related to processes on graphs and networks. Previously, he used to work on bioinspired and alternative computational machines, but he is broadly interested in algorithms, biological modeling, and graph-related problems. Kostas' personal site is here and his papers with the group include: Avoiding organelle mutational meltdown (PLoS Biol 2021).
Robert is a PhD student funded by the University of Bergen. He is combining metabolic and stochastic modelling to explore the interplay between physical, genetic, and metabolic dynamics in the mitochondrial populations of cells. Robert's papers with the group include: Avoiding organelle mutational meltdown (PLoS Biol 2021).
Jo is a PhD student funded by the BBSRC MIBTP scheme, working on the dynamics of mitochondria in plant cells. She uses confocal microscopy, physical modelling, and network science to explore the relationships between mitochondria in cells and how these relationship may benefit the organism. Jo's papers with the group include: Avoiding organelle mutational meltdown (PLoS Biol 2021) and mitochondrial "social networks" in plants; also check out her outreach site about mitochondrial motion in plants!
Belén García Pascual
Belén is a PhD student in the ERC EvoConBiO project. She works with mathematical models to explain gene retention by organelles throughout evolutionary history, together with multi-scale biological systems. She has a bachelor in Mathematics from Complutense University of Madrid and a master in Topology from the University of Bergen, so she is also interested in the applications of algebraic geometry and topological data analysis in cellular biology.
Ryan is a PhD student supervised with Sara Jabbari and funded by the Wellcome Trust. He is working on how cell decisions lead to antimicrobial resistance behaviour, and the role of intracellular energy levels in shaping these decisions, using a combination of microbiology, microscopy, and mathematical modelling. Ryan's papers with the group include how energy affects cellular decisions.
Marcus joins us as a project student, following a bachelor's degree in statistics and data science from the University of Bergen. He did his bachelor thesis with Iain, where he worked on comparing HyperTraPS with hidden Markov models. After the thesis, he started working with the group with adopting and implementing the Baum-Welch algorithm to evolutionary and progressive dynamics on hypercubic transition graphs.
In addition to the folks below, many gifted Masters students have also worked with the group before its current incarnation, including projects that received the Tessella prize for research software, and those which led to publications on network evolution, mitochondrial dynamics, and DNA self-assembly.
Arunas joined us as a Visiting Fellow to explore the evolutionary effects of mitochondrial diversity and genome integrity across multiple biological scales. He studies fundamental processes that generate and regulate mitochondrial diversity within cells, organisms and populations -- working towards developing a theory of eukaryotic sex evolution based on the interplay between mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Arunas' papers with the group include: Avoiding organelle mutational meltdown (PLoS Biol 2021); mitonuclear linkage and sex (J Evol Biol 2021); and several more in the pipeline!
Sam was a postdoctoral researcher affiliated with the EPSRC Centre for the Mathematics of Precision Healthcare at Imperial College. He went on to continue postdoc work at Imperial College. Sam's papers with the group (including prior to its current incarnation) include: Evolvability, robustness, and network topology (JTB 2010); Modelling quaternary structure (Interface 2014); Malaria risk and progression pathways (npj Digital Medicine 2019)
Clare was a PhD student funded by the Birmingham Institute for Forest Research (BIFoR). She worked on using mathematical modelling and statistical approaches to identify the mechanisms governing plant root growth in complex environments and in response to climate change. Clare's papers with the group include: Inference for root architecture (Interface 2019), and more forthcoming!
Hanne was a PhD student primarily supervised by Nick Jones at Imperial College. She went on to work for G-Research. Hanne's paper with the group include: Why do mitochondria form networks? (BioEssays 2015); Mitochondria and cell physiology (BioEssays 2017)
Juvid was a PhD student primarily supervised by Nick Jones at Imperial College. He went on to postdoc work at the MBU in Cambridge. Juvid' papers with the group include: Mitochondria and cell physiology (BioEssays 2017); Mitochondrial heterogeneity (Frontiers in Genetics 2019); Mitochondrial networks and mtDNA dynamics (Genetics 2019)
Alex de Figueiredo
Alex was a PhD student primarily supervised with Nick Jones at Imperial College. He went on to continue research as an EPSRC Prize Fellow at Imperial. Alex's papers with the group include: Vaccine confidence (eBM 2016); Forecasting vaccine coverage (Lancet GH 2016)
Charlotte was a Masters student working on stochastic modelling of mitochondrial fission and fusion, and how these physical processes couple to the genetic structure of cellular mtDNA populations. Charlotte's papers with the group include: Mitochondrial networks and mtDNA dynamics (Genetics 2019)
Peipei was a Masters student working on metabolic modelling of plant bioenergetics.
Yawen was a Masters student working on mitochondrial motion in plant cells.
Sam was a Masters student working on the genetic content of mitochondrial and chloroplast genomes and their relationship with nuclear-encoded organelle genes.
Yi was a Masters student working on organelle gene content and the features that predict genes' retention in organelle genomes.