Photo of Dr Eder Zavala

Dr Eder Zavala

Research Fellow

Email:

Telephone: 01392 727464

Extension: (Streatham) 7464

Room: Living Systems Institute S01.07

I'm an MRC Research Fellow interested in the homeostatic control mechanisms behind neuroendocrine regulation of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis. My goal is to develop a mathematical understanding of hormone dynamics. Currently, I'm modelling the regulatory mechanisms underlying the synthesis of glucocorticoids (e.g. cortisol) during physiological and pathological scenarios. As it occurs with many homeostatic control mechanisms, the neuroendocrine system demands a multiscale modelling approach to grasp its effects at the molecular, cellular, and organismic level. My plan is to continue developing these multiscale mathematical models to understand the dynamical changes elicited by disease and anti-inflammatory drugs, with a focus on understanding the disruption of these mechanisms during stress and metabolic disorders.

My current fellowship is funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and is being developed in collaboration with the University of Bristol and the NIH in the United States. I also collaborate with King's College London in developing an early-warning system for episodes of emotional distress using wearable device technology. For more information about the research we do at our group please visit the EPSRC Centre for Predictive Modelling in Healthcare and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Biomedical Modelling and Analysis.

For the most recent updates about research, events, and opportunities in our group, check out my Twitter @ederzavala

Background

I’m a physicist with a great passion for mathematical biology and biomedical research. My interests revolve around interdisciplinary research questions, with an emphasis on gene regulatory networks, dynamical systems, bifurcation analysis, and stochastic processes. I have always been curious about how the architecture of biological networks determine whether they show bistability, oscillations, or other exotic dynamics, their correspondence to phenotypes, and their robustness against fluctuations in kinetic rates. During my MSc in Engineering and Biomedical Physics I developed ODE models of self-regulated gene circuits, exploring the dynamical effects of negative and positive feedback loops on the phenotypes associated with these motifs. Later, during my PhD in Molecular Biomedicine, I developed a DDE model of the regulatory network underlying vertebrate embryo segmentation (somitogenesis). This model considered the interactions between antagonistic gradients and genetic clocks that embryonic cells use as spatiotemporal cues to achieve robust, irreversible commitment to a somitic fate. Later, while in Japan, I explored non-classic stochastic effects in gene expression and used advanced computational tools to simulate these processes at the single-gene level. I also carried out spatial stochastic simulations to predict the structure and effects of putative diffusion barriers underlying asymmetric segregation of nuclear membrane proteins during yeast mitosis, and developed a Delay Stochastic Simulation Algorithm with cell division (DSSAcd) to explore the effects of polysome structures and the cell cycle in feedback-regulated gene circuits.

Collaborations

University of Bristol - Prof Stafford Lightman (FRS) / Dr Francesca Spiga

King's College London - Dr Matteo Cella / Dr Daniel Stahl

University of Exeter - Prof John Terry / Dr Jamie Walker (MRC Fellow) / Dr Ozgur Akman / Prof Giovanna Colombetti

Honours/Awards

- MRC Skills Development Fellowship / 2017-2020. 

- Engaged Research Exploratory Award / 2017.

- CEMPS Impact Incubator Award / 2016.

- Member of the National System of Researchers of Mexico, Level 1 (SNI 1) / 2015.

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