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Ruth Baker is a Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford. She leads the Quantitative Developmental Biology Group (part of the Wolfson Centre for Mathematical Biology), whose focus is on developing and applying novel mathematical and computational methodologies and modelling frameworks for investigating developmental biology systems at the cell and tissue level.

Simple mathematical models have had remarkable successes in biology, framing how we understand a host of mechanisms and processes. However, with the advent of a host of new experimental technologies, the last ten years has seen an explosion in the amount and types of quantitative data now being generated. Increasingly larger and more complicated processes are now being explored, including large signalling or gene regulatory networks, and the development, dynamics and disease of entire cells and tissues. As such, the mechanistic, mathematical models developed to interrogate these processes are also necessarily growing in size and complexity. These detailed models have the potential to provide vital insights where data alone cannot, but to achieve this goal requires meeting significant mathematical challenges. In this talk, I will outline some of these challenges, and recent steps we have taken in addressing them.