Dr David Richards

David Richards


Turing Fellow

Partner Institution


David Richards studied physics and mathematics at the University of Cambridge, obtaining a PhD in string theory in 2008. After a year tutoring at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), a mathematics institute in Cape Town, he discipline-hopped to use mathematics and computing to investigate various areas of biology and medicine. This involved post-docs with Martin Howard at the John Innes Centre in Norwich (where he worked on branching in the filamentous fungus Streptomyces and pairing during meiosis) and with Robert Endres at Imperial College London (where he worked on phagocytosis and chemotaxis). In 2015, he moved to the University of Exeter, where he is based in the Living Systems Institute. Since 2018 he has been an MRC Career Development Fellow.

Research interests

His work involves mathematical modelling and computational simulation of various areas of biology and biomedicine, often with significant use of image analysis, data-centric analysis and parameter fitting. Almost all his research involves close collaboration with experimentalists, typically spanning several disciplines. Current research topics include phagocytosis (the way that immune cells engulf and destroy particles such as bacteria), the dynamics of peroxisomes (tiny organelles within cells), how filamentous fungi grow and penetrate tissue, how plant cells respond to fungal attack, and the rules that underlie the earliest stages of human embryogenesis.