ACEMS Associate Investigators Awarded Early Career Research Awards by ARC

Tim Macuga News

ACEMS would like to congratulate three of its Associate Investigators, Dr Andrew Black (The University of Adelaide), Dr Chris Drovandi (QUT) and Dr Michael Wheeler (The University of Melbourne). The Australian Research Council (ARC) picked all three to receive a Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA).

Below are their short descriptions of each project:

Dr Andrew Black:

This project aims to develop new mathematical methodology to understand the early stages of the evolution of multicellular organisms from unicellular ancestors. This is the best known example of the creation of a new level of biological organisation. However, the early stages of this transition are poorly  understood, especially how early groups of cells came to possess Darwinian characteristics, which then allows natural section to act on them. The models produced will be used to give the first mechanistic account of this intrinsically stochastic, multi-level, phenomenon. This will lead to new insights into the emergence and subsequent evolution of simple multicellular life-cycles and early forms of development.

Dr Chris Drovandi:

This project seeks to develop computationally efficient and scalable Bayesian algorithms to estimate the parameters of complex models and ensure inferences drawn from the models can be trusted. Bayesian parameter estimation and model validation procedures are currently computationally intractable for many complex models of interest in science and technology. These include biological processes such as the efficacy of heart disease, wound healing and skin cancer treatments. Potential outcomes of the project include new algorithms to significantly economise computations and improved understanding of the mechanisms of experimental data generation. Improved models of wound healing, skin cancer growth and heart physiology supported by these algorithms could improve population health.

Dr Michael Wheeler:

This project aims to develop new connections between quantum integrability and a central area of pure mathematics, symmetric function theory. Quantum integrability is one of the most important areas of mathematical physics, in view of its application to modern physical theories and its mathematical richness. The project intends to use advanced symmetric function techniques to calculate quantum mechanical quantities without any approximation, and to use the framework of quantum integrability to provide new results in symmetric function theory. The intended outcomes of the project will be new asymptotic expressions for correlation functions and more efficient computer algorithms for the calculation of a variety of symmetric functions.