Professor James D Murray, Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Biology, University of Oxford and Senior Scholar, Applied and Computational Mathematics, Princeton University, gives the annual Hooke Lecture.
Understanding the generation and control of pattern and form is still a challenging and major problem in the biomedical sciences. I shall describe three very different problems.
First I shall briefly describe the development and application of the mechanical theory of morphogenesis and the discovery of morphogenetic laws in limb development and how it was used to move evolution backwards. I shall then describe a surprisingly informative model, now used clinically, for quantifying the growth of brain tumours, enhancing imaging techniques and quantifying individual patient treatment protocols prior to their use. Among other things, it is used to estimate patient life expectancy and explain why some patients live longer than others with the same treatment protocols.
Finally I shall describe an example from the social sciences which quantifies marital interaction that is used to predict marital stability and divorce. From a large study of newly married couples it had a 94 percent accuracy. I shall show how it has helped design a new scientific marital therapy which is currently used in clinical practice.