Alan Lindsay

Director, Biophysics Graduate Program; Associate Professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics


201G Crowley Hall

Research Cluster

Computational Models

My research seeks to understand how random processes allow social, chemical and biological systems to reliably communicate and function. In the pollination of a flower or the immune system response to infection, the arrival of a single particle can initiate a cascade of events. The motions of these particles are largely random, yet these processes operate in ordered and predictable ways.

To understand these stochastic phenomena, we are building mathematical models in the form of partial and stochastic differential equations. Using a combination of analytical and computational tools, we are using these models to show how randomness is a positive constructive force in biophysical processes. These results give fundamental insight into the feasibility and effectiveness of stochastic transport mechanisms. 


  1. "Receptor organization determines the limits of single-cell source location detection" Lawley, S.D.; Lindsay, A.E.; Miles, C.E. Phys. Rev. Lett. 2020, 125, 018102.
  2. "Pattern formation in a coupled membrane-bulk reaction-diffusion model for intracellular polarization and oscillations" Paquin-Lefebvre, F.; Xu, B.; DiPietro, K.L.; Lindsay, A.E.; Jilkine, A. J. Theor. Biol. 2020, 497 (21), 110242.
  3. "A cell topography-based mechanism for ligand discrimination by the T cell receptor" Fernandes, R.A.; Ganzinger, K.A.; Tzou, J.C.; Jönsson, P.; Lee, S.F.; Palayret, M.; Chang, V.T.; Da Cunha Santos, M.; Macleod, C.; Lindsay, A.E.; Dushek, O.; Tilevik, A.; Davis, S.J.; Klenerman, D. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2019, 116(28), 14002-14010.
  4. "Boundary homogenization of semi-permeable membranes with periodic patterns of reactive sites" Bernoff, A.J.; Lindsay, A.E.; Schmidt, D.D. SIAM Multiscale Mod. and Simul. 2018, 16(3), 1411-1447.