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Viruses under the Mathematical Microscope: New Geometric Insights into Virus Structure Open up Novel Opportunities for Therapy.

Reidun Twarock is Professor of Mathematical Biology at the University of York. Her research group at the York Cross-disciplinary Centre for Systems Analysis, and the Departments of Mathematics and Biology is highly interdisciplinary, covering expertise in Mathematical Biology, Biophysics and Bioinformatics. She is currently an EPSRC Established Career and a Royal Society Wolfson Fellow, and a joint Wellcome Trust Investigator with her experimental collaborator Professor Peter Stockley from the Astbury Centre in Leeds. She is the recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Research Leadership Award and has delivered many named lectures including the Mary Cartwright Lecture of the London Mathematical Society, the Gresham Lecture and the Lighthill Lecture. She was recently awarded the Gold Medal of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.

Viruses are fascinating for mathematicians because of their highly structured protein containers that enclose and thus protect their genetic messages and in many cases resemble tiny footballs under the microscope. In this talk I will demonstrate that concepts from geometry and tiling theory can act as a mathematical microscope and provide new insights into virus structure. I will present our models of viral geometry, including also examples of viruses that cause serious disease in humans, and illustrate how they have enabled a better understanding of the mechanisms by which these viruses assemble from their component parts. This demonstrates the key role mathematics has played in a joint discovery with lab scientists of an assembly mechanism in viruses that is now being exploited in the design of novel forms of anti-viral therapy and for applications in drug delivery and vaccination.



National Concert Hall, Dublin


Monday 15 October 2018


10 am


This is a schools event

Suitable for Transition Year and Senior Cycle students (fourth, fifth and sixth year)

Booking info

Please book online with the National Concert Hall