Kit Yates

Junior Research Fellow

I was an undergraduate at Somerville College, Oxford, from 2003 to 2006. I undertook courses in Applied Partial Differential Equations, Techniques of Applied Mathematics, Quantum Mechanics and Electromagnetism, Special Relativity, Viscous and Incompressible Flow, Nonlinear Systems, and Mathematical Ecology and Biology. I graduated with first class honours in 2006.

I remained at Somerville between 2006 to 2007 taking an MSc in Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing under the directorship of Dr Hilary Ockendon and Dr Kathryn Gillow. I took examined courses in Numerical Solutions to Differential Equations, Finite Element Methods, and Numerical Linear Algebra. I also submitted short essays on Mathematics and the Environment, Mathematical Physiology, Perturbation Methods and Numerical Solutions to differential Equations. Over the long vacation of 2007 I wrote my dissertation "On the Dynamics and Evolution of Self-Propelled Particle Models" under the supervision of Professor David Sumpter, Dr Radek Erban and Dr Carlos Escudero. I was awarded a distinction and the Nuclear Electric Prize for coming top of the year.

I completed my DPhil in Mathematical/Systems Biology in October 2011 under the supervision of Professor Philip Maini, Dr Ruth Baker and Dr Radek Erban. I was initially based at the University of Oxford's Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). The DTC accepts scientists from a variety of disciplines and trains them in a wide range of fields from scientific computing (in Matlab) to molecular biology. After the taught components of the course students undertake two projects of their choosing, each lasting approximately 3 months. Both my short projects were based in the Centre for Mathematical Biology (CMB). In October 2008 I moved to the CMB permanently for the rest of my D.Phil.
I changed colleges when I began my D.Phil. I spent two years at Worcester College, one of which was as MCR president. Whilst at Worcester I was awarded the Martin Senior Scholarship. I was also awarded the Leathersellers' Scholarship by St Catherine's College to which I migrated in the autumn of 2009 to complete the rest of my D.Phil

Research Interests: 

Bacterial chemotaxis and biofilm formation - I am interested in the mechanisms by which bacteria sense and respond to their environments. In particular I am interested in the formation of multicellular bacterial communities known as biofilms which cause huge problems in medicine and industry.

Cell Tracking - Tracking free-swimming bacteria under the microscope is a highly non-trivial problem. In collaboration with biochemists and mathematicians I have helped to develop a tracking algorithm which is capable of achieving this task very efficiently. We currently have a patent pending on the method.


Sleeping Sickness - In collaboration with experimentalists from Nottingham and Oxford I work on modelling the methods by which the causative parasites in the disease sleeping sickness are able to effectively evade the immune system.

Collective motion - I model the collective migration of locust (and other animal) swarms using self-propelled particle models.

Cell migration - In particular I am interested in the behaviour of cells in the context of embryo formation. I work on linking two different modelling paradigms (discrete stochastic and deterministic continuum) for cell migration and exploiting their complementary advantages.


Stochastic pattern formation - I am interested in the formation of patterns on growing domains in nature. Inherently these patterns are random. Incorporating this randomness into mathematical models of pattern formation represents a significant challenge. I use courgettes as a model system to investigate this pattern formation.


Egg patterning - In collaboration with experimental biologists in Cambridge I contrive computer models which are able to investigate the possible mechanisms by which egg patterns form.

Teaching: 

I currently hold a non-stipendiary lectureship in applied mathematics (Dynamics, Calculus of One Variable, Calculus of Two and More Variables, Fourier Series and Two Variable Calculus, Partial Differential Equations in Two Dimensions and Applications, Fluid Dynamics and Waves, Calculus of Variations, Classical Mechanics) at Christ Church.
In the past I have held a 6-hour non stipendiary lectureship in applied mathematics at Somerville College, where I taught for three years as a graduate student.
Thses positions involve marking tutorial sheets for each subject once a week and going through, with the tutees, the questions they had problems with.
I have also taught 3rd and 4th Year undergraduate classes (Mathematical Ecology and Biology and Perturbation Methods).

I am currently part of the CETL (Centre for Excellent in Teaching and Learning) program. I have taught on a variety of the Doctoral Training Centre's courses including(Computational Biology, Scientific Computing in Matlab, Mathematical Biology and Advanced Mathematical Biology).

Funding: 

I'm funded for the next 3-4 years by a Junior Research Fellowship from Christ Church, Oxford.

Contact Email: 
yatesc [at] maths [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk