St John's College Oxford
Professor Philip K Maini

Professor Philip K Maini FRS, FMedSci

Professorial Fellow in Mathematical Biology Vice-President at St John's College Tutor for Ethnic Minorities



I did mathematics as an undergraduate at Balliol College (1982) and obtained my DPhil in 1985. I was a mathematics teacher at Eton College (1986), a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College (1987–88), and an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah (1988–90). I moved back to Oxford to a Lectureship in Mathematical Biology, and a Tutorial Fellowship at Brasenose (1990–2005). I was appointed Statutory Professor of Mathematical Biology in 2005, with a Professorial Fellowship at St John’s.

I lecture courses in applied mathematics and supervise graduate students working in mathematical biology. My philosophy of teaching is to separate out the key clever idea from the standard ideas.

I had a very inspiring mathematics teacher at my school (Rainey School, Magherafelt, Northern Ireland) – Dr Gwilliam – who had received his doctorate from Cambridge. I remember a class with another mathematics teacher, Mr Irvine, in which he showed that the pages and pages of description of simple harmonic motion that we had learned in physics could be described by one mathematical equation. That convinced me to do mathematics. At university, I was lectured in mathematical biology by Professor J.D. Murray FRS and the enthusiasm he showed for his subject, coupled with the vast range of (completely new to me) areas to which mathematics could be applied, inspired me to become a mathematical biologist.

Recent publications

R. McLennan, L. Dyson, K.W. Prather, J.A. Morrison, R.E. Baker, P.K. Maini, P.M. Kulesa, Multiscale mechanisms of cell migration during development: theory and experiment, Development. 139, 2935-2944 (2012)

G. Trichas, A.M. Smith, N. White, V. Wilkins, T. Watanabe, A. Moore, B. Joyce, J. Sugnaseelan, T.A. Rodriguez, D. Kay, R.E. Baker, P.K. Maini, S. Srinivas, Multi-cellular rosettes in the mouse visceral endoderm facilitate the ordered migration of anterior visceral endoderm cells, PLoS Biology, 10(2) e10012562012  (2012)

J. B McGillen, C. J. Kelly, A. Martinez-Gonzalez, N. K. Martin, E. A. Gaffney, P. K. Maini, V. Perez-Garcia, Glucose-lactate metabolic cooperation in cancer: insights from a spatial mathematical model and implication for targeted therapy, J. Theor. Biol., 361, 190-203, (2014)

S. Pillay, H.M. Byrne, P.K. Maini, Modeling angiogenesis: a discrete to continuum description, Phys. Rev. E., 95, 012410, (2017)

N. Picco, E. Sahai, P.K. Maini, A.R.A. Anderson, Integrating models to quantify environment-mediated drug resistance, Cancer Research, 77(19), 5409-5418 (2017)

Research Interests

Mathematical modelling of the mechanisms underlying spatiotemporal processes occurring in developmental biology and in disease (such as cancer), leading to increased understanding of fundamental biology, as well as new insights into how to develop and improve disease treatment strategies.  

Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci), Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB), Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (FIMA), Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Fellow, Inaugural Society for Mathematical Biology (SMB) Fellow, Miembro Correspondiente (Foreign Fellow) La Academia Mexicana de Ciencias (AMC), Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (FNA). London Mathematical Society Naylor Prize. Society for Mathematical Biology Arthur T. Winfree Prize.