At the Biomolecular Control Group we develop mathematical methods to analyze and design biological networks in living cells. We use mathematics and control theory to understand the function of natural networks, as well to design novel biomolecular systems for Biotechnology and Healthcare. A large part of our work is in collaboration with Systems and Synthetic Biology labs in the UK and abroad.
You can find a general description of our work in Biomathematics in this news piece.

Members: Diego Oyarzún (lead), Mona Tonn (PhD student), Denise Thiel (PhD student), Matthew Haines (PhD student), Jin Lee (MSc), Maggie Hicks (MRes), Evangelos Nikolados (MRes), Varshit Dusad (MRes).

We are moving: Exciting times! In Jan 2019, our group will relocate to the University of Edinburgh, jointly affiliated with the School of Informatics and the School of Biological Sciences.

Recruiting: As part of the move we will be recruiting PhD students in various topics. Some studentships are already funded and others are subject to a scholarship competition by suitable candidates. We will also be supporting postdoctoral applications through suitable fellowship schemes. Interested candidates please e-mail me your CV, research interests, and names of two referees.


  • [Nov 2019] We are organising the MathBioFest 2018 at Imperial College. Final programme is here.
  • [Oct 2018] Two new papers with our friends at INRIA Sophia Antipolis have been accepted in Automatica and the Journal of Theoretical Biology (special issue in memory of René Thomas). In collaboration with Madalena Chaves and Jean-Luc Gouzé.
  • [Sep 2018] We welcome Denise Thiel to the group. Denise will do her PhD project with us in collaboration with Mauricio Barahona (Imperial College) and the Cancer Metabolism and Systems Toxicology group led by Hector Keun.
  • [Aug 2018] Our paper on metabolic graphs has been published in NPJ Systems Biology and Applications. This is a collaboration between Oxford, U Polytech Valencia and Imperial College.
  • [Jul 2018] We welcome Miriam García from CSIC-Vigo in Spain, who will be visiting us during July.
  • [May 2018] We wrote a short broad-audience piece on precision medicine at the WEF Agenda blog.
  • [May 2018] Our paper on biotechnology for health has been published in the Biotechnology Journal. This is joint work with the World Economic Forum's council on the future of biotechnologies.
  • [April 2018] Our paper on biotechnology for sustainability has been published in EMBO reports. This is joint work with the World Economic Forum's council on the future of biotechnologies.
  • [Mar 2018] Diego was honoured at the 2018 President's Address at Imperial College.
  • [Mar 2018] We welcome Prof Julio Berrios from the Dept of Biochemical Engineering (PUCV, Chile), who will join us during May funded by an EMBO Short Term Fellowship.
  • [Jan 2018] Welcome to Jin Lee (MSc Applied Maths) who will be doing her project with us.
  • [Jan 2018] Our review paper on dynamic pathway control will appear in the Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology.
  • [Dec 2017] We welcome Varshit and Evangelos (MRes Systems & Synthetic Biology), who will be doing their projects in our group.
  • [Nov 2017] Diego joined the Editorial Board of Microbial Cell Factories.
  • [Aug 2017] Our paper on biosensor design has been accepted in ACS Synthetic Biology, in collaboration with Fuzhong Zhang's lab at U Washington, St Louis.
  • [Jul 2017] Diego was appointed to the EPSRC Early Career Forum in Mathematical Sciences.
  • [Apr 2017] Diego was selected as one of the 100 Young Global Changers to participate in Think 20, part of the G20 Summit Germany 2017.
  • [Mar 2017] Diego joined the Scientify Advisory Board on Precision Medicine for the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution of the World Economic Forum, San Francisco.
  • [Dec 2016] We have written a commentary piece for Cell Systems on new findings in yeast signalling. (PDF)
  • [Dec 2016] We welcome Denise Meinhardt and Gustavo Vergara, who joined our group as MSc students, and Camila Gaspar who joined us as MRes student in Patrik Jones' lab.
  • [Sep 2016] Diego was appointed a Global Future Council Fellow by the World Economic Forum to serve on the Council on the Future of Biotechnologies. His participation in the summit in Dubai was featured in the Imperial College podcast.
  • [Jul 2016] Ahmad and Diego organized a minisymposium at the ECMTB 2016.
  • [Apr 2016] Diego joined the IPC for the conference Foundations of Systems Biology and Engineering (FOSBE) 2016, to be held in Magdeburg, Germany.
  • [Mar 2016] We welcome Mona K Tonn, who joined our group as a PhD student.
  • [Jan 2016] Our paper on the design of a genetic switch for cellular uptake appeared in the J of the Royal Society Interface, in collaboration with Madalena Chaves.
  • [Jan 2016] Our paper on pulse-based control of bistable systems appeared in Automatica, in collaboration with Aivar Sootla.
  • [Mar 2015] We have been awarded an HFSP Young Investigator Grant in collaboration with Fuzhong Zhang's lab at Washington University in St. Louis.
  • [Feb 2015] Our paper on metabolic noise appeared in ACS Synthetic Biology special issue Circuits in Metabolic Engineering. (PDF) (Editorial) (Authors' profile )
  • [Mar 2015] Our paper on cellular tradeoffs and growth appeared in PNAS, in collaboration with A. Weiße, V. Danos and P. Swain from the U. of Edinburgh.
    (Link) (Press release) (Preprint).

Last update: Nov 2018