School of Mathematical Sciences
   
   
  

Staff Profiles

  

  Our staff members have an enthusiasm for the subject which is truly infectious

 

 

 

Ian-DrydenDSC_9771
Professor Ian Dryden,
Head of School,
Professor of Statistics
I have always loved mathematics, and at school I knew I wanted to study for a maths degree. I knew nothing at all about statistics until university, and I was simply amazed at how useful and interesting the subject could be. I enjoy exploring new research areas in mathematical sciences and sharing knowledge with a new generation of students through undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

show/hide full profile...

My journey

“I liked the idea of an academic career and so after I obtained my BSc in Mathematics with Statistics from the University of Nottingham, I chose to study for a PhD at the University of Leeds. I have been fortunate to have excellent lecturing jobs at the University of Leeds, University of Chicago, University of South Carolina and the University of Nottingham. As an academic I am able to travel internationally to many conferences, workshops and universities for research collaborations, and it is great to learn about exciting new ideas and experience new cultures. I am now back full circle again as the Head of School in our wonderful modern building on our beautiful campus.

Why I love mathematics

I love the fact that the mathematics is both fascinating in itself and incredibly useful in modelling the uncertain world around us. Statistics and Probability can be used to model and understand this uncertainty, and to help us make better decisions for all our benefit.    

Research expertise

My research specialism is statistics, and in particular shape and object data analysis. Although I am very interested in foundations of statistics and mathematics, I also really like the way that I can apply statistics to all types of applications areas, including medical imaging, bioinformatics and computer science.”

 

steve-coombesDSC_8213
Professor Stephen Coombes,
Deputy Head of School,
Professor of Applied Mathematics
I enjoy collaborating with my colleagues in mathematical sciences, mainly on the mathematics relevant to my interests in neuroscience, but also on topics further afield in the broader area of pattern forming systems in physics and biology. The environment here is ideal for multi-disciplinary work and it is a privilege to collaborate with colleagues from outside the school, and in particular from biology, psychology and the Queens Medical Centre.

show/hide full profile...

My journey

"Initially it was an interest in astronomy that drew me to a career in academia and then I realised that a professional career in this area needed a healthy dose of advanced training.

My relationship with mathematics was secured when I studied as an undergraduate at The University of Exeter, Theoretical Physics. I then moved to Kings College, London and studied for my PhD researching a topic on neurocomputing.  

My academic career began at Loughborough University in the Department of Mathematical Sciences where I was a senior lecturer. I then joined The University of Nottingham and have spent twelve years in the School of Mathematical Sciences. My current role is Deputy Head of School, Professor of Applied Mathematics and member of the mathematical biology research group.

I’ve always worked in an academic environment, apart from a one-year break after my first degree when I worked as a math's tutor.

Why I love mathematics

I think the thing I most enjoy about mathematics is seeing models of the world simplified and realised before you as symbols on a piece of paper. I enjoy collaborating with my colleagues in the mathematical sciences, mainly on the mathematics relevant to my interests in neuroscience, but also on topics further afield in the broader area of pattern forming systems in physics and biology. The environment here is ideal for multi-disciplinary work and it is a privilege to collaborate with colleagues from outside the school, and in particular from biology, psychology and the Queens Medical Centre.

Research expertise

I am working in mathematical neuroscience with a particular interest in the use of nonlinear dynamics to understand aspects of the human central nervous system.  I am actively championing this new field of mathematics at the national and international level, coordinating a UK network on Mathematical Neuroscience co-creating the new Journal of Mathematical Neuroscience and directing a Marie Curie Initial Training Network on Neural Engineering.

I am currently interested in developing mathematical models for the generation of brain signals seen in neuroimaging studies.  As well as working with colleagues from the Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre I am also working with the following Nottingham labs: Neuronal Networks Electrophysiology Laboratory, Institute of Hearing Research, Academic Radiology, Visual Neuroscience.  The aim in all cases is to develop mathematical theory that can be applied to problems in neuroscience.  This ranges from understanding the dynamics of neurons in a dish, through models of neural networks for sensory processing right up to developing learning rules to achieve natural computation.

Future research

I am very proud to be the director of NETT, which is a European PhD training programme helping deliver a new breed of scientists capable of developing transformative technologies based upon ideas from neuroscience. It is exciting to see the use of mathematics for developing and understanding complex neural engineered systems of a sort that will have an impact on almost every aspect of future human life, including the development of neural prosthetics, next generation computing via synthetic cognition, and brain-machine interfaces.

Over the next few years I also intend to work on a major advancement in the subject of neural fields. To date they have had a major impact in understanding a variety of neural phenomena, including EEG rhythms, visual hallucinations, and anaesthesia.  Yet, as currently formulated, they lack important physiological mechanisms known to be fundamental in generating brain rhythms, including dendritic structure and cortical folding.  I will develop models with a stronger connection to biological reality and hand-in-hand the set of new mathematical tools required for their understanding.  This work will pave the way to a deeper understanding of brain dynamics and neural computation.

In particular it will provide a fundamental underpinning for understanding neuroimaging signals, develop a new framework for feature-based computation such as for motion perception, deliver new biologically motivated systems for solving spatial navigation tasks, and generally advocate for the ability of brain-inspired non-von Neumann architectures to solve real world problems. 

Importantly I will develop a sound theoretical bedrock for this work using, and developing, powerful modern tools from the mathematical sciences, including those from differential geometry, uncertainty quantification, scientific computation, nonlinear dynamics and stochastic optimal control.

General interests

I run – slowly."

  

Steve-coxDSC_0140
Dr Stephen Cox,
Associate Professor, Reader in Applied Mathematics,
Admissions Tutor BSc/MMath Mathematics
I love the fact that mathematics can be applied to almost any aspect of life and give new insights. My specialism is applied mathematics, which is an enormously broad area. I started out specialising in fluid mechanics (How do you predict the weather? How do you mix two paints together – efficiently?) and now mostly work in applications of mathematics to electronic engineering. I tend to interact with engineers quite a lot – they have interesting practical problems which give rise to interesting mathematical problems. That’s where I come in.

show/hide full profile...

My journey

“I did a mathematics degree at the University of Oxford, then a PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of Bristol. After my PhD I did three post-docs: two in Adelaide, Australia and one at Cornell University, USA. Then I worked for nine years at The University of Nottingham, starting out as a lecturer then getting promoted
to senior lecturer, before moving to the University of Adelaide for three years. Finally, in 2006, I moved back to The University of Nottingham as an associate professor and reader, where I’ve been ever since.

Why I love mathematics

 
I love the fact that mathematics can be applied to almost any aspect of life and give new insights. My specialism is applied mathematics, which is an enormously broad area. I started out specialising in fluid mechanics (How do you predict the weather? How do you mix two paints together – efficiently?) and now mostly work in applications of mathematics to electronic engineering. I tend to interact with engineers quite a lot – they have
interesting practical problems which give rise to interesting mathematical problems. That’s where I come in. There’s a great sense of satisfaction when a fairly abstract mathematical calculation ends up telling you something new that’s of practical interest.

Teaching

I enjoy teaching. Nottingham attracts very good students and it can genuinely be great fun to interact with them. There’s nothing better than a difficult question from a good student, especially when the question makes me re-examine a subject I’ve been teaching for a while!

Research expertise 

I also love doing my research, especially in collaboration with academics from other disciplines and other countries. There is a real challenge in convincing non-mathematicians that mathematics can be useful to them. I’ve worked with mathematicians and engineers from many countries, most recently from Singapore and South Africa. I’ve recently made trips to both countries – these were academically fruitful and culturally fascinating.

One of my current research projects involves what are called class-D amplifiers. These are very efficient little amplifiers that are present in phones, tablets, laptops, and so on – any mobile electrical device where battery life is important.

My research so far has focused on trying to tweak the design to reduce the distortion generated by
the amplifier, so it delivers the best sound quality. One of the highlights of my research was accidentally inventing a new design for a class-D amplifier, based on just doing the mathematics. After some initial scepticism, my collaborator – a professional designer of class-D amplifiers – built a prototype, and it really did work!”

 

Bindi-Brook12376repro
Dr Bindi Brook,
Assistant Professor
At the heart of my enjoyment of mathematics is the challenge of solving problems. That the problems are in biology and physiology makes it even more complex and challenging. Which is even more fun! I also enjoy teaching – in particular teaching students about the applications of mathematics to medicine and biology. I am a member of the Mathematical Medicine and Biology research group and am particularly interested in understanding the physiology of asthma.

show/hide full profile...

My journey

“I did both my undergraduate Mathematics degree and Applied Mathematics PhD at The University of Leeds before taking six months out right after to work in a company that evaluated credit risk, which I really did not enjoy.

I then took a postdoctorate position at Sheffield University before taking a career break to start a family.
I joined the School of Mathematical Sciences at Nottingham nearly eleven years ago and I am now a lecturer. I started out doing part-time teaching which I did for some years as I had young kids and wasn’t sure if coming
back to research was what I really wanted to do.

 
After about four years of teaching I decided I did want to stay in academia and got myself a Daphne Jackson “Return to Research” Fellowship after which I was awarded an MRC New Investigator Grant. My six months out of academia made me realise how much I liked the challenge of doing novel exciting research that no one had any definite answers to yet.

I hope outcomes from my research will contribute to a greater understanding of certain biological processes in health and disease.

Teaching

I also enjoy teaching – in particular teaching students about the applications of mathematics to medicine and biology.

Why I love mathematics

At the heart of my enjoyment of mathematics is the challenge of solving problems. That the problems are in biology and physiology makes it even more complex and challenging. Which is even more fun!

Research expertise

I am a member of the Mathematical Medicine and Biology research group within the School of Mathematical Sciences and am particularly interested in understanding the physiology of asthma. Asthma is an inflammatory disease characterised by airway hyperresponsiveness (constriction of the airways) and airway
remodelling (structural changes to the airway wall). There is no real cure for the disease and it can only be
controlled or managed with regular use of inhaled medication – which in many cases does not do the job either.
My group is developing mathematical models of the airway smooth muscle cells that line the airways of lungs which contract excessively when asthmatics breathe in irritants, and how the forces generated by these cells are transmitted to the rest of the airway.

We are also developing mathematical models of the underlying inflammatory processes and the consequence of
these processes such as thickening of the airway wall, which further exacerbates the problem. The aim of this research is to understand the disease better and to come up with potential therapies. By collaborating with biologists and clinicians, we are able to develop models that are informed by biological experiments and real-world data from patients.

Future research

Future research plans are to continue to develop models of different aspects of asthma and other inflammatory diseases. In the process my aim is to understand both fundamental biology as well as pathology that arise in disease. The School of Mathematics has a thriving research environment. But more importantly the people are what make the place – both staff and students are great to work with.

General interests

In my spare time I like running, going to live music gigs, reading contemporary fiction, eating great food, playing board games, and most of all, doing those things with my partner and kids.”

 

 

john-billinghamDSC_8330
Professor John Billingham,
Professor of Theoretical Mechanics
For me, mathematics is the language with which we quantify the real world, and it has always been the development and study of mathematical models that can describe and make a difference to complex industrial and other physical processes that has fascinated me. I love the freedom of being able to study whatever I want. My colleagues are all very smart and stimulating, and we get pretty good students to work with.My technical area of expertise is in the numerical and asymptotic solution of nonlinear ordinary and partial differential equations.

show/hide full profile...

My journey

"I was an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge, and moved to the University of East Anglia to do an MSc and a PhD. My undergraduate degree is in Mathematics, my MSc is in Theoretical Mechanics, and in my PhD I studied theoretical chemistry, which meant solving nonlinear ordinary and partial differential equations.

When I finished my PhD in 1990, I got a job at Schlumberger Cambridge Research. Schlumberger are an oilfield services company, and I was employed as a Research Scientist to study a variety of topics. Whilst I was there I studied multiphase flow, in particular gas kick control and flow metering, as well as the chemistry of oilwell cement hydration. I stayed there for five years before returning to academia joining the University of Birmingham as a lecturer.

I found life as an industrial scientist a little too much at the mercy of the current oil price, and it was clear that I would have to take on a senior managerial role fairly soon. Fortunately, I’d continued to publish scientific papers, and an old friend of mine encouraged me to apply for a lectureship at the University of Birmingham. I liked the idea of being free to study whatever I wanted and I thought my love of the sound of my own voice would stand me in good stead as a lecturer.

I started at The University of Nottingham in 2003 and am currently a Professor of Theoretical Mechanics, and well as being head of the Industrial and Applied Mathematics Research Group. I  teach, which I enjoy, apart from marking exams, and manage my research group, which mainly involves letting them get on with what they’re doing well already, but my main focus is research.

Why I love mathematics

For me, mathematics is the language with which we quantify the real world, and it has always been the development and study of mathematical models that can describe and make a difference to complex industrial and other physical processes that has fascinated me. I enjoy some of the technical aspects too, but I’m not a great one for proving theorems, perhaps to my own disadvantage at times.

I love the freedom of being able to study whatever I want. My colleagues are all very smart and stimulating, and we get pretty good students to work with.


Research expertise

My technical area of expertise is in the numerical and asymptotic solution of nonlinear ordinary and partial differential equations, as well as the creation of mathematical models of the real world. I have a particular interest in free boundary problems in fluid mechanics, particularly those with moving contact lines.

I have a lot of PhD students at the moment, with whom I pursue many different topics, and there are also topics that I study on my own. These include the motion of vibrating fluid droplets, slug formation in stratified pipe flow, oxidation of thermal barrier coatings, crack healing in asphalt, pattern formation in reaction-diffusion equations, energy beam milling processes (particularly laser and abrasive waterjet milling) and waves driven by moving boundaries. All of these have applications in Industry, either direct or indirect.

Future research

I have a regular stream of people knocking on my door with interesting problems in engineering and science, and I hope I will continue to be surprised by the range of real world problems that are amenable to mathematical analysis.

General interests

Over the last few years I’ve developed an interest in poker, which led me recently to write a book on the subject. I’ve also been teaching myself Game Theory, and have been working in my spare time on a program to solve a large, nontrivial subgame of no limit holdem. I’m also interested in the dynamics of simple multiplayer poker games, and hope one day to enter a program in the Annual Computer Poker Competition. My other interests include music (I love progressive rock and metal), sport (I play badminton and used to play a lot of cricket before my knees gave up), I’m a patient and long-suffering Spurs supporter, and I also like to spend time with my family, if only to make sure they’re not doing something they shouldn’t."

 

 

gerardo-adessoDSC_8147
Dr Gerardo Adesso,
Associate Professor
Mathematics is the universal language of nature. It gives us elegant tools to model and describe the fundamental constituents of the physical world and how they behave.The thought of coming to work and meeting my PhD students, and advancing our research, brings a smile to my face in the morning. I am an expert in the study of quantum entanglement and its characterisation in composite quantum systems.

show/hide full profile...

My journey

"I studied Physics at the University of Salerno, Italy and I finished my PhD in 2007, and then was a Postdoc in Italy and Spain before joining Nottingham in January 2009, so it is 6 years now.


I am an Associate Professor in Mathematical Physics, working on quantum information theory and quantum correlations, and administratively I am the Internship Officer. 

The passion of discovery and the satisfaction of achieving and publishing original results bring me genuine pleasure. I enjoy what I do, it gives me freedom, and it’s fun to do.

Why I love mathematics

Mathematics is the universal language of nature. It gives us elegant tools to model and describe the fundamental constituents of the physical world and how they behave.

I feel valued and supported, the environment is stimulating, and I have now created a group around me with which I go along very well. The thought of coming to work and meeting my PhD students, and advancing our research, brings a smile to my face in the morning. Furthermore, Nottingham offered a lot of “pump-priming” funding opportunities which were very useful for me in the beginning to establish my group and increase my international dimension. I felt very nurtured as an early career scientist and this aided my transition into an established researcher, now supported by substantial external funding. 

Research expertise

My main expertise is in quantum information theory. I am an expert in the study of quantum entanglement and its characterisation in composite quantum systems.

I am currently researching various forms of quantum correlations and how to use them as resources. The applications are to quantum technologies such as secure communication, enhanced sensing and metrology, but also more generally to the understanding of emergent areas of investigation at the interface between physical, biological and social sciences.

Future research

Recently I had a successful grant application which will allow me to research genuine quantumness in cooperative phenomena (GQCOP) which aims to explore and challenge the frontiers of the quantum world.

It has been known for a century that at very small scales, where the laws of quantum mechanics apply, the world behaves very differently from our ordinary classical experience. While originally considered paradoxical features, quantum effects such as coherence and entanglement are now hecticly harnessed as resources for breakthrough technologies, like quantum computers.

With this ERC Starting Grant, I will investigate how to identify and exploit useful quantum resources in unexpected conditions, e.g. in noisy, complex and possible even living and social systems, and the role they may play for the optimal function of these systems. The long-term impact of this research can be to bring quantum-enhanced devices out of the lab and into the real world.

General interests 
 
Playing computer games (mostly adventure games). "

 

Susanne-Pumpluen
Dr Susanne Pumpluen,
Associate Professor,
Chair of Athena SWAN group 
One of the best things for me in trying to make it in academia was the opportunity to travel and live and work in different countries (and actually get paid for it!). For instance, it gave me the chance to spend some months at the University of Ottawa, to be a visiting assistant professor in Las Cruces and to teach at the University of Trento in Italy. My research interests lie in the areas of algebra, number theory and algebraic geometry.

show/hide full profile...

My journey

“I think it was clear for me from very early on that I would like to have a career in academia. Although I was equally interested in languages, I decided that studying mathematics would give me a broader choice of careers.

After doing my undergraduate studies at the University of Munster I did my PhD at FernUniversität Hagen (both Germany), and spent time living in America as a college instructor at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces. Since my original plan was to try to obtain a permanent post in Germany, I was then required to do my ‘habilitation’ which is basically like writing a second PhD thesis plus several publications. This, along with a talk I made at a research institute, helped me secure my next position at at the University of Regensburg.

I was the third woman since the foundation of the university who did this higher qualification in mathematics and I later obtained an award for my thesis.

I have been at The University of Nottingham since 2004, as Associate Professor since 2008. The academic year 2005/6 I spent at the University of Trento on a German DFG research grant. I am really glad that Nottingham chose me, it is a great University to work at.

 
Why I love mathematics

One of the best things for me in trying to make it in academia was the opportunity to travel and live and work in different countries (and actually get paid for it!). For instance, it gave me the chance to spend some months at
the University of Ottawa, to be a visiting assistant professor in Las Cruces and to teach at the University of Trento in Italy. I have friends all over the world now as a result and got to know different cultures. I also believe that the flexibility of being in academia really helps in having a family. My twins are twelve years old and although the first years were really hard (well, I guess every mother of twins will agree on that), I think I am able to organise my work flexibly enough to be there for them.

Research expertise

My research interests lie in the areas of algebra, number theory and algebraic geometry. I recently also started to look at possible applications of my research on algebras to coding theory, in particular to space-time block
codes. Space-time block coding is used for reliable high rate transmission over wireless digital channels with multiple antennas at both the transmitter and receiver ends.

As wireless communication is becoming more widespread (it is used for example in laptops, iPads, mobile phones and portable TV’s), there is a great demand to find ways to transmit information like data, speech or images at
a high rate, taking into account limited bandwidth and transmission power, and trying to lose as little data as possible during the transmission.”

 

 

Theo-KypriaosDSC_9722
Dr Theo Kypraios,
Associate Professor
I have always been fascinated by numbers and in particular randomness and uncertainty. I honestly believe that probability and statistics are not only fascinating subjects to study, but also fun! What I like more about statistics is its wide applicability. My primary research area is infectious disease modelling and in particular  I have been working on identifying the routes of transmission of healthcare associated infections, such as MRSA and Gram negatives in hospital wards.

show/hide full profile...

My journey

“I did my undergraduate degree in statistics at Athens University of Economics and Business, before coming to England to do an MSc in Medical Statistics at Lancaster University.

Following the completion of my MSc I started a PhD in Statistics, also at Lancaster University. In 2006, I started working at The University of Nottingham as a research fellow, before becoming a lecturer in statistics. I have very broad research interests which range all the way from modelling, parameter estimation and model assessment to the analysis of highdimensional complex real data.

Why I love mathematics

I have always been fascinated by numbers and in particular randomness and uncertainty. I honestly believe that probability and statistics are not only fascinating subjects to study, but also fun! What I like more about statistics is its wide applicability.

I really enjoy working in Nottingham – it is a very stimulating environment. The facilities that are on
offer for our students, such as break-out areas and computer labs are just fantastic.

What I like even more is our new building, the facilities that are on offer for our students both undergraduates and postgraduates such as break-out areas, seating areas and computer-labs are just fantastic. Last, but not least, we are situated in one of the best (if not THE best) campuses in the UK!

Research expertise

My primary research area is infectious disease modelling and in particular the last five years or so I have been working on identifying the routes of transmission of healthcare associated infections, such as MRSA and Gram negatives in hospital wards.

 
More recently, I have also been working on modelling brain connectivity using real data from Diffusion-Weighted (DW-) and resting-state functional (f-) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Our aim is to offer considerable potential to enhance our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of pathology, to discover earlier and
more accurate diagnosis of various diseases and to identify potential treatment strategies.

Future research

Apart from continuing to work on infectious disease modelling and neuroimaging, I am also planning to further develop my collaboration with mathematical physicists in quantum statistics. We are currently entering a new technological era where quantum mechanics is used not only to predict physical behaviour but increasingly
to exploit quantum resources in applications such as quantum communication, cryptography, computation and metrology.

General interests

I used to play football and in particular, whilst being in Lancaster, twice a week! However, recently just watch it on the TV and even more recently I quite enjoy a bit of gardening! "

 

School of Mathematical Sciences

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

For all enquiries please visit:
www.nottingham.ac.uk/enquire