Heather Harrington

The shape of data in biology

10.15-11.00, Florence Nightingale Day, January 2017

From epidemics spreading across the globe to proteins interacting within a single cell, biological systems at all levels have complex interactions that behave in nonlinear ways. Algebra and topology, together with computation and statistics, can help us understand these complex systems and the data generated by them. The talk will focus on how computational mathematics can provide new insights to biological systems with data.

About Heather

Heather Harrington completed her doctorate at Imperial College London in Applied Mathematics and Systems Biology with a focus on models of immune response and cell death. She was a postdoctoral researcher in the Theoretical Systems Biology group at Imperial where she focused on statistics and developing methods for comparing models and data. She was a visiting researcher at Princeton and New York University. Currently she is a Hooke and EPSRC Research Fellow in the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford and she has recently been awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship.

Her principal research interests are concerned with using concepts from computational algebra and topology to develop methods for understanding biomedical problems. For example, she introduced algebraic matroids, a mathematical structure, to design experiments and this helped rule out molecular mechanisms involved in colon cancer.