Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Mathematics




iain.johnston Website




548Huxley BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Mitochondrial and cellular stochasticity

Mitochondria are increasingly being recognised as complex, interacting agents with rich physical behaviour and cellular influence. I am interested in how mitochondrial properties and behaviour affect cellular processes and may lead to disease:

  • How does mitochondrial variability contribute to noise in cellular biology?
  • How can we quantitatively model and predict mitochondrial genetic variability, which causes many pathologies, in a clinical context?
  • Does mitochondrial stochasticity influence stem cell differentiation behaviour?
  • What drives the motion, fission, fusion and hyperfusion of mitochondria in different cellular situations?
  • What are the sources of variability in mitochondrial functionality? What role do genetics, electrochemistry, ultrastructure and external cues play?
  • How does oxidative damage due to ageing and/or cellular stress affect this interconnected system?

Biological evolution

Biological evolution is the mechanism by which Darwin''s "endless forms most beautiful" have emerged from the simple chemistry of prehistoric Earth. The ongoing amalgamation of ideas from maths, physics and biology is resulting in a change in the way evolution is viewed. Some questions of interest include:

  • How can we consistently model evolutionary processes?
  • How does the topology of evolutionary search spaces affect evolutionary dynamics?
  • How does C4 photosynthesis evolve in plants?
  • Why do symmetric, low-complexity structures emerge from evolution?
  • Why do evolutionary time series often display a certain class of reddened power spectra?