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Photo of Prof Kirsty Wan

Prof Kirsty Wan

Associate Professor, ERC Starting Grantee


Telephone: 01392 727447

Extension: (Streatham) 7447

Visit personal website »

Office: T03.09, Living Systems Institute.

Twitter: @micromotility

Youtube channel

See my personal webpage for more information and the latest preprints/research from my group. 

Informal enquiries welcome about open positions
(Currently recruiting PhD students in 2023-24:
possible projects include microbial biophysics, timeseries analysis of organismal behaviour, microhydrodynamics, noisy synchronization of active filaments)

Overview:  My lab explores how cells and small organisms control and orchestrate complex behaviours. We integrate experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches to explore fundamental biological questions such as how aneural single-celled organisms actuate their motility appendages for swimming.

We are particularly interested in understanding the origins and diversification of cilia, also known as eukaryotic flagella, which are evolutionarily conserved across phyla. We pioneer novel biophysical approaches to understanding ciliary form, function, and coordination in diverse species.

I currently hold an ERC Starting Grant to study how single-celled lifeforms control their movement and the origins of basal cognition in living systems. I recently completed an Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard Award for a project on the biomechanics of motile cilia. I am currently a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute for Data Science and AI, and co-lead for the Physics of Life theme at the LSI. 

Biography: I obtained my BA, MMath, and PhD degrees in mathematics from the University of Cambridge. From 2014 to 2017 I was elected Thomas Nevile Junior Research Fellow at Magdalene College. I then joined the University of Exeter and the Living Systems Institute as a new group leader/principal investigator. 

Keywords: mathematical biology, dynamical systems, biological physics, quantitative biology, image processing, pattern recognition, cell biology, microscopy, phenomenological modelling, low Reynolds number fluid dynamics.

My Erdös number = 4. 
Wan (4) - Goldstein (3) - Moffat (2) - Lorentz (1) - Erdös (0)