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ยป Kit Yates

Kit Yates


BSc (Mathematics), MSc (Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing), DPhil (Systems Biology)

Role or Position

Junior Research Fellow and Associate Research Fellow of the 2020 science programme

Email address

Academic Background

I was an undergraduate at Somerville College, Oxford, from 2003 to 2006. I undertook courses in Applied Partial Differential Equations, Techniques of Applied Mathematics, Quantum Mechanics and Electromagnetism, Special Relativity, Viscous and Incompressible Flow, Nonlinear Systems, and Mathematical Ecology and Biology. I graduated with first class honours in 2006.

I remained at Somerville between 2006 to 2007 taking an MSc in Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing under the directorship of Dr Hilary Ockendon and Dr Kathryn Gillow. I took examined courses in Numerical Solutions to Differential Equations, Finite Element Methods, and Numerical Linear Algebra. I also submitted short essays on Mathematics and the Environment, Mathematical Physiology, Perturbation Methods and Numerical Solutions to differential Equations. Over the long vacation of 2007 I wrote my dissertation "On the Dynamics and Evolution of Self-Propelled Particle Models" under the supervision of Professor David Sumpter, Dr Radek Erban and Dr Carlos Escudero. I was awarded a distinction and the Nuclear Electric Prize for coming top of the year.

I completed my DPhil in Mathematical/Systems Biology in October 2011 under the supervision of Professor Philip Maini, Dr Ruth Baker and Dr Radek Erban. I was initially based at the University of Oxford's Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). The DTC accepts scientists from a variety of disciplines and trains them in a wide range of fields from scientific computing (in Matlab) to molecular biology. After the taught components of the course students undertake two projects of their choosing, each lasting approximately 3 months. Both my short projects were based in the Centre for Mathematical Biology (CMB). In October 2008 I moved to the CMB permanently for the rest of my D.Phil. I changed colleges when I began my D.Phil. I spent two years at Worcester College, one of which was as MCR president. Whilst at Worcester I was awarded the Martin Senior Scholarship. I was also awarded the Leathersellers' Scholarship by St Catherine's College to which I migrated in the autumn of 2009 to complete the rest of my D.Phil.

Undergraduate Teaching

I currently hold a non-stipendiary lectureship in applied mathematics (Dynamics, Calculus of One Variable, Calculus of Two and More Variables, Fourier Series and Two Variable Calculus, Partial Differential Equations in Two Dimensions and Applications, Fluid Dynamics and Waves, Calculus of Variations, Classical Mechanics) at Christ Church. 

In the past I have held a 6-hour non stipendiary lectureship in applied mathematics at Somerville College, where I taught for three years as a graduate student. These positions involve marking tutorial sheets for each subject once a week and going through, with the tutees, the questions they had problems with. I have also taught 3rd and 4th Year undergraduate classes (Mathematical Ecology and Biology and Perturbation Methods).

Research Interests

Cell Tracking - Tracking free-swimming bacteria under the microscope is a highly non-trivial problem. In collaboration with biochemists and mathematicians I have helped to develop a tracking algorithm which is capable of achieving this task very efficiently. We currently have a patent pending on the method.
Sleeping Sickness - In collaboration with experimentalists from Nottingham and Oxford I work on modelling the methods by which the causative parasites in the disease sleeping sickness are able to effectively evade the immune system.
Collective motion - I model the collective migration of locust (and other animal) swarms using self-propelled particle models.
Bacterial chemotaxis and biofilm formation - I am interested in the mechanisms by which bacteria sense and respond to their environments. In particular I am interested in the formation of multicellular bacterial communities known as biofilms which cause huge problems in medicine and industry.
Cell migration - In particular I am interested in the behaviour of cells in the context of embryo formation. I work on linking two different modelling paradigms (discrete stochastic and deterministic continuum) for cell migration and exploiting their complementary advantages.
Stochastic pattern formation - I am interested in the formation of patterns on growing domains in nature. Inherently these patterns are random. Incorporating this randomness into mathematical models of pattern formation represents a significant challenge. I use courgettes as a model system to investigate this pattern formation.
Egg patterning - In collaboration with experimental biologists in Cambridge I contrive computer models which are able to investigate the possible mechanisms by which egg patterns form.
If you would like more information on any of the above areas or are interested in collaboration then please get in contact with me.

Publications include

1. C.A. Yates, R. Erban, C. Escudero, I.D. Couzin, J. Buhl, I.G. Kevrekidis, P.K. Maini and D.J.T. Sumpter, (2009). “Inherent noise can facilitate coherence in collective swarm motion”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(14), 5464-5469.

2. R.E. Baker, C.A. Yates and R. Erban (2009). “From Microscopic to Macroscopic Descriptions of Cell Migration on Growing Domains”. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 72(3), 719-762.

3. C.A. Yates, R.E. Baker, R. Erban and P. K. Maini (2010).“Refining self-propelled particle models for collective behaviour”. Canadian Applied Mathematics Quarterly (In press).

4. C. Escudero, C.A. Yates, R. Erban, I.D. Couzin, J. Buhl, I.G.Kevrekidis and P.K. Maini, (2010). “Ergodic directional switching in mobile insect groups”. Physical Review E 82(1) 11926.

5. C.A. Yates and K. Burrage, (2011). “Look before you leap: A confidence based method for selecting species criticality and leap size whilst avoiding negative populations in tau-leaping”. Journal of Chemical Physics 134, 084109.

6. C.A. Yates, R.E. Baker, R. Erban and P.K. Maini (2011). “From microscopic to macroscopic descriptions of cell migration on non-standard domains.” (Under review).

7. T. Wood, C.A. Yates, D. Wilkinson and G. Rosser (2011). “Visual tracking of bacteria using the Gaussian Mixture Probability Hypothesis Density Filter”. IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology (Accepted).

8. G. Rosser, C.A. Yates, T. Wood and D. Wilkinson (2011). “Analysing free-swimming bacterial motion”. (In preparation).


I work with the Oxford University Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Marcus Du Sautoy as part of his'Mathemagicians' group (M^3). We run workshops, activities and give talks about maths to a wide range of audiences.
As part of my out reach work I recently appeared on the BBC's flagship science programme Bang Goes the Theory with Dr Yan Wong discussing properties of a special set of curves called the conic sections. (More information about my outreach activities can be found on my webpage,

In my spare time I play a fairly rudimentary version of football and I play squash at the university club. If you fancy a game of squash, send me an email, I'm always keen for new opponents. I am also an instructor in an outdoor activity group based in South Manchester: Columbus Fellowship and am a keen photographer. Occasionally
I try to combine the two activities, often with disastrous consequences. For my sins I am a fan of Manchester City F.C.. We finally managed to win somthing last year, for the first time in my life time, so I guess Ican't complain like I used to!


My homepage -
My Maths Homepage -
My page -
My 2020 Science Page -

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