News / 29 November 2022

EMBL Australia group leaders Professor Eduardo Eyras and Dr Richard Morris are chief investigators in the new Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for the Mathematical Analysis of Cellular Systems. 

The $35 million centre aims to deliver the mathematics required to compute life by bringing together experts from mathematics, physics, computational biology and experimental biology to model life in unicellular and multicellular systems.

Administered by the University of Melbourne under the leadership of Professor Michael Stumpf, it will deliver advanced mathematics to study biological processes through whole-cell modelling and develop methods for engineering biotechnological applications. 

Prof Eyras, based at the Australian National University, said the centre will work towards its research goals (separated into four themes: mathematical modelling; machine learning and multiscale modelling; data-driven approaches; and applications to life-science research) and provide plenty of training activities. 

Prof Eyras will be in charge of the research training portfolio and high-performance computing lead and Dr Richard Morris (based at the University of New South Wales) will take on the role of summer school coordinator. 

“We will plan training activities in interdisciplinary and transferable skills, and in the topics developed by the network, among other things,” Prof Eyras said.

The Centres of Excellence scheme enables high-quality researchers to maintain and develop Australia’s international standing in research areas of national priority. It also encourages significant collaborations between universities, publicly funded research organisations, other research bodies, governments, and businesses in Australia and overseas, to support outstanding research.

The Centre of Excellence for the Mathematical Analysis of Cellular Systems was the only mathematics-related centre of the 11 ARC Centres of Excellence funded by the Australian Government in 2023.

The project summary states that the Centre will deliver innovation in computational and mathematical biology and establish in silico biology alongside in vivo and in vitro biology. 

These models will allow us to understand the complexity of life at the cellular level and enable new ways of combining diverse and heterogenous data.

This will allow us to understand the mechanisms underlying cellular behaviour, and to apply rational design engineering methods in order to control the dynamics of biological systems.

The project will receive $35 million in funding over seven years.

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