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The University of Southampton
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Dr Ben MacArthur PhD

Professor in mathematics in the life sciences

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Dr Ben MacArthur is a Professor in mathematics in the life sciences within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

Dr. MacArthur was appointed as Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and School of Mathematics in 2018. He received his PhD on mathematical modeling of malignant invasion in 2003 from the School of Mathematics at University of Southampton. He then completed 5 years postdoctoral research integrating mathematical models with experiment in the Bone and Joint Research Group in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton. He was then a postdoctoral research fellow at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York for 2 years, studying systems biology of stem cell fate decisions, before returning to Southampton in 2010 as a Lecturer.


Appointments held

Research interests

Dr. MacArthur is interested in combining experimental, mathematical and computational techniques to better understand molecular regulation of mammalian cell fate. Problems of current interest include: systems biology of stem cell fate and cellular reprogramming; analysis of the structure and function of biological regulatory networks; high throughput data analysis and bioinformatics.

Systems biology of stem cell fate

Cell fate decisions are controlled by intrinsically complex molecular regulatory networks, involving a wide variety of protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions. Due to this complexity, it is difficult to understand molecular regulation of cell fate at the ‘systems’ level. However, mathematical techniques can be used dissect this complexity and elucidate the essential molecular mechanisms that underlie cell fate determination. Dr MacArthur’s work is therefore aimed at developing mathematical models of cell fate regulatory networks. Since transcription and translation are intrinsically “noisy” processes these models include both deterministic and stochastic mechanisms.

Analysis of biological regulatory networks

Cell behaviour is governed by a variety of complex regulatory networks (for instance, metabolic, transcriptional, signalling, and protein-protein interaction networks). Dr MacArthur’s work in this area aims to better understand the structural properties of these regulatory networks – for instance, the number of feedback or feedforward loops they contain – and the ways in which structure features relate to dynamics and ultimately cell behaviour.

High-throughput data analysis

Molecular biology experiments now typically produce large amounts of data. It is a considerable statistical and computational challenge to collate and interpret these data. Dr MacArthur’s research in this area aims to develop new computational techniques for analysing complex (gene and protein) expression datasets, particularly time-series and single cell expression data.


Human Development and Health

Affiliate Department(s)

Human Development and Physiology

Research project(s)

Postgraduate student supervision


  • Sonya Ridden
  • Patrick Stumpf
  • Liana Kontogeoragki

University of Southampton

  • Member of University Senate

National and international responsibilities

  • Visiting Professor, International Research Center for Medical Sciences, Kumamoto University, Japan
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Book Chapters



Programme coordinator for Bsc Mathematics with Biology

Lecturer and course coordinator for MATH3072 “Biological Fluid Dynamics”
Lecturer and course coordinator for MATH6140 “Structure and Dynamics of Networks”
Lecturer for MATH3052 “Mathematical Population Dynamics”

Dr Ben MacArthur
Institute for Life Sciences Building 85 University of Southampton Highfield Campus Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 85/Level 6

Telephone:(023) 8059 4255

Dr Ben MacArthur's personal home page
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