Caius Science Network:
Connecting research interests across the college

The aim of this network is to enhance scientific discussions and collaborations in Gonville & Caius college. One of the advantages of being in a college is the interaction with many leading experts across a range of disciplines. Scientists in different fields often study similar problems, but this is done with different approaches and in different departments. As a result, many potential overlaps of interests remain unexplored owing to lack of exposure. This network aims to bring to light intra-Caius common interests in the hope that this will generate further fertilising scientific discussions and interactions.

The main activity of the CSN is a termly meeting, planned to take place at the end of every term, in which interested members of the college will make short presentations of a research problem on which they seek discussions, insight and / or collaboration. A research problem can be anything from a solution to a stubborn equation to a search for complementary skills for a joint project or a proposal collaboration.

It is expected that not everyone would be able to attend the meetings or make presentations. To make this less of a problem, this page will list the topics presented in the meetings, with a copy of the presentation, when available. This page is also intended to help with research issues that cannot be presented orally for any reason. To make your topic of interest visible, please send me: (i) a title; (ii) a 3-4 paragraphs description of the problem; (iii) the objective, e.g., help with a solution, insight into modelling a problem, discussions, collaboration, etc. It would be best if these are comprehensible to others outside your field. Meeting presentations in pdf format will be linked, if available.


  • Meeting 1: (June 21, 2017, Caius college Senior Parlour, 20:30)

    Tim Pedley: "A new squirmer model for swimming micro-organisms?"

    Anthony Edwards: "How many n-set simple Venn diagrams are there?"

    Gareth Conduit: "Future applications of machine learning"

    Rafi Blumenfeld: "Can we use a recent quantitative structural characterisation of disordered foams for early detection of metastasis risk?"
    I have developed in recent years a method to describe quantitatively local structures of disordered granular, cellular and porous media. The method works both for 2D and 3D structures and it turns out to be sensitive to subtle differences in structural characteristics, which are difficult to capture by eye.
    I would like to explore application of the method to detect precursors to metastasis, based on the hypothesis that, prior to metastasis, tissues undergo structural changes. Specifically, the idea is to compare normal and pre-metastasis tissues for significant differences, which can be used as a warning sign.
    My aim here is to interest someone, or more than one person, with access to good resolution images of such tissues. The scale of the project may vary from a small test of the hypothesis on a specific type of quasi 2D tissue to a PhD, or larger, project. Positive results could be considered as a basis for a funding proposal.

  • Meeting 2: (November 23, 2017, Caius college Fellows dining room, 20:30)

    1. Rob Miller: : "Loss, Irreversibility and Ideal Machines"
    The aim of the talk is to introduce a new method for analysing the performance of engines (e.g. jet engines or internal combustion engines). Rob is interested in the possibility of applying the method to other areas science such as biological systems.

    2. Jeremy Prynne: : "Scientific Apophthegms"
    The aim of this presentation is to entice scientists to collaborate with Jeremy by providing either apophthegms (smart aphorisms/sayings) from their fields or valid scientific insights/models/ideas for Jeremy to construct apophthegms from. These would be included in his growing anthology. This should appeal to all of us, as I believe that Jeremy is open to accommodate any field of science and technology.

    Each presentation will be of 20-25 minutes, followed by about 5 minutes discussion and questions, followed by a break of 5-10 minutes for tea/coffee, leg stretching and further informal discussions.

  • Meeting 3: (Wdnesday, March 14, 2018, Caius College Bateman Auditorium, 20:30)

    The Lent 2018 meeting of the CSN will take place at 8:30 pm on March 14 in the Bateman Auditorium. Water and Coffee will be provided in the Bateman room (Sorry, no alcohol, as this is charged to my own limited entertainment budget). We are in for two stimulating presentations:

    1. Joe Herbert: : "Gender has personal, social, psychological, legal and medical implications."
    "Transgender is very much in the news. It questions the traditional definitions of binary two genders. Gender has social, psychological, legal and medical implications. It also poses a challenge for neuroscience: how much do we know about how gender is determined? What are the roles of genes, hormones or the environment? Are there patterns in the brain that might represent gender? And what is the relation in the brain between gender and sexuality?"

    2. David Summers: : "The morals of a microbe: prudence vs the prodigal bacteria."
    "The many microbiomes associated with the human body are increasingly recognised to have significant effects on the functioning of our bodies both in sickness and in health. I will briefly review the extensive effects of the bacterial signalling molecule indole, the current focus of research in my laboratory. The complexity of the gut microbiome presents a serious barrier to understanding its function. Many big data approaches are being undertaken but in this presentation I want to demonstrate the complexity that can arise from just a single bacterial species (E. coli) and a single signal (indole). Building upon such a simple beginning is one route towards an understanding of complex microbiomes in vivo."

    The usual reminder:
    The objective of the presentations is to introduce problems/issues in search of inter-disciplinary discussions, new insights and/or collaborations. The definition of a `problem' is broad and ranges from seeking a solution to a specific mathematical equation to looking for a joint proposal.  If you would like to use this forum to tap into the broad range of excellent skills in the college and involve some of your fellow colleagues in your interesting idea or research, please send me a title (required) and an abstract (optional) for a future presentations. I am also available to help with suggestions, if necessary. 

Administrator: Rafi Blumenfeld,

Gonville & Caius College, Trinity Street, Cambridge CB2 1TA, UK

email address