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Tuesday 19th May 4-5pm, Room A401 School of EngineeringRoland Wong

Roland Wong, Institute of Digital Healthcare, WMG

'Challenges in the modelling of ADHD: a machine learning approach to personalised treatment'

“Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural disorder that affects 5-7% of school-aged children. Several types of medication are frequently prescribed. A clinician is often interested in the efficacy and side effects of the drugs for a given patient, in order to deliver the best treatment and minimise drop-out and maximise medication adherence. Numerous studies had tried and unsuccessfully predict treatment response and adverse drug reactions. This is due to three main reasons: 1) Despite decades of research, the underlying pathological mechanism that causes ADHD is not known in detail. 2) Information regarding the disorder and the patients are mostly in the form of subjective questionnaire ratings, clinical notes and qualitative psychometrical data; as such they are not as readily analysed by conventional data mining techniques. 3) As with the case with many clinical research, dataset available is usually small, with lots of missing data especially in the temporal domain.

These difficulties had made successful modelling of the disorder an elusive task. Researchers have to resort to statistical methods such as looking at univariate correlations between outcome and a list of predictor variables; for example, one year increase in age of the patient may be observed to have a 2% increase in success of treatment response. However, such effects usually do not generalise across different clinical populations and indeed the literature often reports conflicting results across studies.

The seminar will discuss how to tackle the ADHD modelling challenge by first looking at how qualitative data can be processed. A modelling framework using machine learning techniques presented and shows how such model may tackle the problems and at the same time enters the foray of personalised medicine.”

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***Christmas Seminar*** - Mince pies will be provided

Thursday 27th November 3-4pm, Room A401 School of Engineering

Dr Andrew Marsh - Associate Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick

‘Personalised Medicine’

“Continued adherence to a single-drug single-target paradigm will limit the ability of chemists to contribute to advances in personalized medicine, whether they be in discovery or delivery” - J Watkins, A Marsh, P C Taylor, D R J Singer, Therapeutic Delivery, 2010, 1, 651-665.

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Wednesday 22nd October 3-4pm, Room A401 School of Engineering

Peter Dawson - PhD Student, Complexity Science, University of Warwick

‘Modelling endemic foot-and-mouth disease in Turkey’

Abstract: Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly infectious disease that affects cloven hoofed animals, most importantly cattle, sheep and pigs. A country which is designated as suffering from FMD can not export meat and other animal products, as such FMD has huge economic consequences. Turkey which borders the EU (designated FMD free) has endemic FMD. We present a model of FMD within a farm and elucidate how this model can be incorporated into a nationwide network model for FMD in Turkey.

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Thursday 16th October 3-4pm, Room A401 School of Engineering

Melchior Du Lac - PhD Student, School of Engineering, University of Warwick

‘Heterogeneous modelling of the cell cycle for the reliable prediction of population chromosomal dynamics’.

Abstract: Synthetic biology has been attempting to merge life sciences and engineering through the development of a mathematical based language of biology[1]. Using mathematical modelling we are able to formalise our understanding of biological systems that, for example, aided in the creation of synthetic genetic circuits (SGC). However there is still a gap between in sillico prediction and in vivo implementation, that is testament of our poor understanding of the complexities of life. For example, a recent model of SGC required 750 attempts in vivo before the rates matches the predicted ones[2]. Most of the research is today aimed at the understanding of the biochemistry of the circuits, however, the chassis (such as E.coli) where the circuits are implemented, are of equal importance in the efficiency of the SGC. In E.coli the cell cycle and population growth rates have a very important effect on the cell transcription and translation rates, that in turn effect the efficiency of the SGC[3]. We are developing a novel simulation technique, where by explicitly representing each member of a population and modelling the cell cycle, we are able to accurately represent the dynamics of a cell population, such as chromosome dynamics. We hope that in turn we would be able to predict the efficiency of a SGC at the population level.

[1]Lazebnik, Yuri. "Can a biologist fix a radio?-or, what I learned while studying apoptosis." Cancer cell 2.3 (2002): 179-182.

[2] J Bonnet, P Yin, ME Ortiz, P Subsoontorn, D Endy (2013), Amplifying Genetic Logic Gates. Science 340:6132 599-603

[3]Volkmer, Benjamin, and Matthias Heinemann. "Condition-dependent cell volume and concentration of Escherichia coli to facilitate data conversion for systems biology modeling." PLoS One 6.7 (2011): e23126.

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Andrew Marsh

Thursday 9th October 3-4pm, Room A401 School of Engineering

Dr Andrew Marsh - Associate Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick

‘Molecular self-assembly: combining modelling and experiment’

Abstract: Many small molecules, including drugs and macromolecules such as proteins and synthetic polymers associate to form supramolecular structure. Developing methods which combine atomistic simulation (molecular dynamics) and mathematical modelling to enhance interpretation of biophysical data is thus a priority. I will highlight some simple and more complex systems we work on with the aim of enhancing designed molecular structure for biological and materials science applications.

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Wed 5th February 12-1pm, Room A401 School of Engineering

Dr Simon Mitchell - Visiting Researcher, School of Engineering, University of Warwick
“A Computational Model of Human Iron Metabolism”
Abstract: Iron is an essential element required by virtually all studied organisms. Iron homeostasis is a carefully controlled process as both iron overload and deficiency cause cell death. Recent developments have led to the human iron metabolism network being characterised in more detail. However, a holistic understanding of how many components interact to produce the tightly regulated system of human iron metabolism remains elusive.

A systems biology, mechanistic, computational model of human iron metabolism is presented here. The model was constructed using ordinary differential equations based on available physical-chemistry data (binding constants, etc) and was subsequently validated by comparison of its behaviour to various experimental and clinical data. Dr Mitchell will show how an extremely common genetic disorder affecting iron metabolism (haemochromatosis) can be simulated mechanistically and recreate the clinically observed phenotype. Through the simulation and analysis of health and disease, potential therapeutic targets are identified.
Hypoxia sensing and iron metabolism are closely linked, however the interplay between iron responsive elements and hypoxia responsive elements is poorly understood. Using the model presented, we explore the interplay between iron metabolism and hypoxia sensing in various degrees of hypoxia. The model is then used as virtual laboratory to test potential sites of action for prion protein, which has unknown physiological role but is implicated in a wide variety of disorders.

Missed the seminar? View Simon's presentation on


Friday 15 Nov 12noon
Dr Leandro Pecchia

Algorithms and tools to support medical decision making. Case studies:from the research to the release of the final product

Missed the seminar? View Leandro's presentation now.


Friday 22 Nov 12.30pm
Prof Declan Bates

Modelling and Optimisation of Ventilation Strategies for Pulmonary Disease States

Declan Bates

Friday 13 December 12noon
Prof Christopher James

Brain and behaviour: monitoring for health and well-being

Christopher James


"Biomedical Applications of Magnetic Nanoparticles: Delivering Genes and Remote Control of Cells"

Tue 4 June 2013; 12noon, Room A401, School of Engineering

Prof. Jon P. Dobson
Director: Institute for Cell Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, University of Florida

Institute for Science & Technology in Medicine (ISTM), Keele University


The use of magnetic micro- and nanoparticles for biomedical applications was first proposed in the 1920s as a way to measure the rheological properties of the cytoplasm. Since that time, particle synthesis techniques and functionality have advanced significantly. Magnetic micro- and nanoparticles are now used in a variety of biomedical techniques such as targeted drug delivery, MRI contrast enhancement, gene transfection, immunoassay and cell sorting. More recently, magnetic micro- and nanoparticles have been used to investigate and manipulate cellular processes both in vitro and in vivo.
This talk will focus on magnetic nanoparticle targeting to and actuation of cell surface receptors to control cell behavior for applications in cell engineering and regenerative medicine. The use of magnetic nanoparticles and oscillating magnet arrays for gene transfection will also be discussed.

About the Speaker

Jon recently moved to University of Florida to found and direct the Institute for Cell Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, having previously held a chair in Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering at the ISTM (Keele). He has a B.Sc. and M.Sc. from Florida and a Ph.D. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH-Zurich, 1991). In 2004, Jon became a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Fellow and was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and Fellow of the Institute for Nanotechnology in 2007. He has more than 150 peer-reviewed publications and has been an invited speaker at more than 25 institutes & scientific meetings, including the Royal Society of Medicine / US Food & Drug Administration Conference on Gene Therapy: State of the Art. Professor Dobson was the recipient of a UK Medical Research Council Milstein Award in 2008 and co-recipient of a Wellcome Trust Showcase Award in 2002. Jon’s highly multidisciplinary research has won funding from many organizations, including the Royal Society, MRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, Wellcome Trust, the National Institutes of Health (USA), and the Australian Research Council. He is also the founder and director of the successful spin-out company, nanoTherics, which specializes in the development and commercialization of innovative magnetic nanoparticle-based products for the life-science sector.

“Understanding neuroparasitology requires more than parasitology”

Tue 21 May 2013: 12noon, Room A401, School of Engineering

Hany Elsheikha
School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham

The brain is constantly required to combat a diverse range of pathogens that manage to bypass the body multi-phase defence machinery. Brain illnesses, whether due to neurodegenerative diseases or brain infections, present a broad challenge to humans due to the economic, societal and public health burden.
For instance, the total cost of brain disorders in Europe was estimated at €798 billion in 2010. One of the most important pathogens affecting the human brain is the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which causes a serious neurological disease of humans and animals know as toxoplasmosis.

Dr Elsheikha is interested in understanding how this obligate eukaryotic intracellular organism manipulates the mammalian host cell to ensure its successful replication and development. The presentation will describe some of the key applications of imaging and omics technologies with specific examples of results from projects we have completed and some that are still on going. The talk will include work done looking at the intersections of host-parasite interaction at the blood-brain barrier interface, with the goal of developing new drug therapies against this neuropathogen and restoring the neural damage caused by infection. The aim of the presentation will be to inform and discuss potential applications of newly developed methods in answering important neuroparasitology questions.

The talk will highlight the principles and challenges of integrating multi-omic approaches to host-parasite interactions and presents a model to explain, how vibrational spectroscopy can reshape the research into the molecular inter-kingdom signalling mechanisms that drive host-parasite communication