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Meet the group


Ruben Perez-Carrasco is a researcher who is passionate about understanding the basic dynamical rules of life by working in the interface of Biology, Mathematics, and Physics. He earned his PhD in Physics on the “Mechano-chemical study of rotatory molecular Motors” at the University of Barcelona in 2013, before moving to the Mathematics Department at University College London to employ tools from stochastic dynamical systems theory to explore the principles of timing in cellular transitions during embryonic development and synthetic biology. In 2017, he became an independent researcher as a Clifford Fellow at UCL. Since 2020, he is a lecturer in theoretical systems biology in the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London where his group studies how the timing and precision of cellular decisions are controlled from molecules to tissues, focusing in problems of developmental and synthetic biology.
When he is not in the office you might find him playing the clarinet with the Bloomsbury Woodwind Ensemble. In his free time, he also enjoys sketching around London.

Charlotte Manser is a PhD student in the group with a passion for applying mathematical tools to solve complex biological problems. After completing an undergraduate degree in mathematics at Cambridge University in 2020, she went on to pursue a master’s degree in Systems Biology at the same institution, which she completed in 2021. Currently, she is investigating the mechanisms behind how different species undergo the same processes at different speeds, despite having evolutionarily conserved genetic programs. Leveraging her background in mathematics, Charlotte is taking a theoretical approach to her research, using dynamical systems to solve this complex problem, shedding light on this fundamental biological question and contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying life itself.

Smitha Maretvadakethope is a postdoc in theoretical systems biology with a passion for curiosity-driven problems in mathematical biology and fluid dynamics. She has a particular interest in understanding cell dynamics, whether it be active suspensions of swimming microorganisms, organelle dynamics like flagella or cilia, or the internal dynamical systems that govern cell behaviours and gene expression. Smitha completed all of her higher education at Imperial College London, where she completed a BSc in Mathematics (2015), an MSc in Applied Mathematics (2016), and joined the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Fluid Dynamics Across Scales completing an MRes (2017) and PhD (2020). Her PhD was on the topic of “Synchronisation and dynamics of model cilia and flagella.” Afterwards, she joined the University of Liverpool as a postdoc studying the effects of shape, shear, and diffusion on microswimmer suspension dynamics and their boundary encounter interactions, captured through stochastic cell modelling and probability density continuum modelling. Now back at Imperial, she is studying synthetic tipping points to reveal the rules of gene critical timers inspired by bacterial cell-autonomous clocks and differentiation transitions in embryonic development. She is particularly interested in studying how coexisting critical points control timing dynamics in the presence of static, intrinsic, and extrinsic noise.