Photo of Dr Eder Zavala

Dr Eder Zavala

Research Fellow


Room: Living Systems Institute S01.07

I am Research Fellow modelling the regulatory mechanisms underlying the synthesis of glucocorticoids 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, with a focus on understanding the disruption of these mechanisms under acute and chronic stress, as well as during metabolic disorders.

My current project is funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and is being developed in collaboration with the University of Bristol. 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.


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.

Key Publications

Zavala E, Marquez-Lago TT. (2014) The long and viscous road: uncovering nuclear diffusion barriers in closed mitosis. PLoS Comp Biol 10(7):e1003725

Zavala E, Marquez-Lago TT. (2014) Delays induce novel stochastic effects in negative feedback gene circuits. Biophys J 106(2):467-478

Zavala E, Santillán M. (2012) An analysis of overall network architecture reveals an infinite-period bifurcation underlying oscillation arrest in the segmentation clock. Math Mod of Nat Phenom 7(6):95-106

Zavala E, Santillán M. (2011) Oscillation arrest in the mouse somitogenesis clock presumably takes place via an infinite period bifurcation. arXiv 1108.0673