Dr David Richards
MRC Career Development Fellow
Living Systems Institute
Skills Development Fellowship Vision
These fellowships are all about developing new skills to tackle important biomedical problems. A successful SDF will involve a novel, exciting research question, with well-thought-out applications and a compelling long-term vision. The research approach is likely to involve quantitative approaches, based on ideas from mathematics, physics and/or computing, combined with an interdisciplinary component. Fellows will have a large degree of independence to direct their own research, along with significant support from the sponsors as required. These fellowships will be ideal opportunities for successful candidates to explore and develop new skills, form new collaborations (both within and outside Exeter), and explore areas related to translation, industry and public involvement.
I initially studied physics at Cambridge University, followed by a PhD in string theory. After spending a year teaching at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cape Town, I discipline-hopped to mathematical and computational biology, with positions at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, Imperial College London and now the University of Exeter. I am currently an MRC Career Development Fellow based in the Living Systems Institute.
My research is based on applying concepts from physics and mathematics to a variety of areas in medicine and biology. Typically, this involves combining ideas like spatio-temporal modelling, reaction-diffusion equations, numerical simulation, membrane mechanics, agent-based modelling and image analysis to tease out the basic biophysical processes involved. My past research has covered a wide range of different areas, including telomere bouquet formation, branching in Streptomyces, the accuracy of sensing in chemotaxis, and positioning during morphogenesis.
- Richards DM, Endres RG (2017) How cells engulf: a review of theoretical approaches to phagocytosis. Rep Prog Phys 80:126601.
- Richards DM, Endres RG (2016) Target shape dependence in a simple model of receptor-mediated endocytosis and phagocytosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113(22):6113-8.
- Richards DM, Saunders TE (2015) Spatiotemporal analysis of different mechanisms for interpreting morphogen gradients. Biophys J 108:2061-73.
Ongoing Projects & Grants
My current research covers a number of different biological and biomedical areas, including:
- The mechanisms of phagocytosis
- The dynamics of peroxisome shape
- Stochasticity in pituitary cells
- The plant immune response
- Electrotaxis in Dictyostelium
- Dr Peter Petrov, Physics, Exeter University
- Professor Volkmar Heinrich, Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Davis, US
- Dr Charlie Jeynes, Living Systems Institute, Exeter University
- Professor Holger Kress, Biological Physics Group, Universität Bayreuth, Germany
- Professor Michael Schrader, Biosciences, Exeter University
- Dr Joël Tabak, Exeter University Medical School
- Dr Mike Deeks, Biosciences, Exeter University
- Dr David Horsell, Physics, Exeter University
Research Group Connections