About the Biomathematics Research Centre

DNA graph on computer screen

Biomathematics Research Centre

The Biomathematics Research Centre was set up in 1996 to promote Biomathematics and Biostatistics within the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Our group of mathematicians and statisticians work with biologists on a wide spectrum of projects. Some of our group are also part of other research centres.

Directions on how to find us can be found on our contact page.

Current on-going research projects include:

  • statistical applications in medicine and ecology
  • analysis of dynamical biological processes using differential equations
  • computational molecular biology and phylogenetics

About Biomathematics

Dr William Moses Feldman invented the word biomathematics which was the title of his 1923 treatice on the subject. Biomathematics is the application of mathematics, statistics and computer science to comtempory problems in biology. It therefore overlaps partly with another newly emerged field, namely, bioinformatics.

Bioinformatics is the application of techniques from computer science to bio molecular and genetic data with the aim of addressing questions in biology, medicine and biotechnology. More information on bioinformatics is available on our Bioinformatics page.


What is Bioinformatics?

Bioinformatics involves the use of computers and mathematical/statistical models to process large amounts biological information, usually molecular or genetic data. It has been an active field for the last 15 years, and is driven by the rapid advances in molecular sequencing technologies, as well as new algorithms and statistical approaches.

The Human Genome Project, and more recently epigenetics, metagenomics, the ENCODE project, and the Human Microbiome project are probably the most well-known bioinformatics projects. However there are many other aspects to the field and it has diverse applications in biodiversity, medicine, agriculture and biotechnology.

Bioinformatics is part of a larger field called 'Data Science'. University of Canterbury offers a number courses in Data Science.

Careers in Bioinformatics.

There continues to be high demand for bioinformaticians with computer (programming) skills, and the ability to work with biology on analysing data.

Most bioinformatics practitioners work in biotechnology in New Zealand and overseas. There are also opportunities within academic and research institutions to do more fundamental scientific research. Careers in bioinformatics may involve diverse applications including: drug design, immunology and medical applications, forensics, and molecular evolution and population biology.

For more information about the Biomathematics Research Centre