Adam MacLean

I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Theoretical Systems Biology group at Imperial College London. I am employed on a BBSRC grant held by Professor Michael Stumpf and Dr Cristina Lo Celso. The goal of our work is to elucidate the cell-cell interactions occurring within the haematopoietic stem cell niche, during homeostasis and disease.

My research interests extend beyond haematopoietic stem cells into areas including stem cell fate determination, cancer dynamics, and population biology. Successful modelling of such systems has required me to develop tools in dynamical systems, statistical inference, agent-based modelling, and data analysis.

Current/Recent Research

  • Mapping the haematopoietic stem cell niche through data and theory
  • Stem cell fate choice and lineage specification
  • Population dynamics of stem cells and cancer
  • Agent-based modelling of epithelial-mesenchymal interactions and their tissue-level effects
  • Elucidating the dynamics of the Wnt signalling pathway
  • Generalised stability analysis of signalling pathways and phenotypic consequences

Overview of research


During 2014 I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford. From 2010 – 2013 I was a BBSRC funded PhD student; my thesis is entitled Modelling haematopoietic stem cells in their niche. Before this I completed a BSc in Mathematical Physics at the University of Edinburgh (graduating in 2009 with first class honours) and an MSc in Bioinformatics and Theoretical Systems Biology at Imperial College London (graduating in 2010 with distinction).

Outside of research I am passionate about writing, communication, and combinations thereof. I have helped to curate events including the Summer Science Exhibition and Imagining the Future of Medicine. I co-edit a short fiction column at Londonist.

Recent Publications

Systematic tracking of altered haematopoiesis during sporozoite-mediated malaria development reveals multiple response points
M Vainieri, A Blagborough, AL MacLean, N Ruivo, H Fletcher, MPH Stumpf, R Sinden, C Lo Celso
Open Biology, 2016. doi:10.1098/rsob.160038.

Feedback mechanisms control coexistence in a stem cell model of acute myeloid leukaemia
HL Crowell*, AL MacLean*, MPH Stumpf
J Theor Biol, 2016. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2016.04.002.

Cellular Population Dynamics Control the Robustness of the Stem Cell Niche
AL MacLean*, P Kirk*, MPH Stumpf
Biol Open, 2015. doi:10.1242/bio.013714.

Conditional Random Matrix Ensembles and the Stability of Dynamical Systems
P Kirk*, DMY Rolando*, AL MacLean, MPH Stumpf
New J Phys, 2015. 17(8), 083025.

Parameter-free methods distinguish Wnt pathway models and guide design of experiments
AL MacLean, Z Rosen, HM Byrne, HA Harrington
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2015. 112(9), pp. 2652-2657.

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition in metastases affects tumor dormancy in a simple mathematical model
AL MacLean, HA Harrington, MPH Stumpf, MDH Hansen
Biomedicines, 2014. 2(4) pp. 384-402.

Ecology in the hematopoietic stem cell niche determines the clinical outcome in chronic myeloid leukemia
AL MacLean*, S Filippi*, MPH Stumpf
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2014. 111(10) pp. 3882-88.

Population dynamics of normal and leukaemia stem cells in the haematopoietic stem cell niche show distinct regimes where leukaemia will be controlled
AL MacLean, C Lo Celso, MPH Stumpf
J R Soc Interface, 2013.

Book Chapter

Mathematical and Statistical Techniques for Systems Medicine: The Wnt Signaling Pathway as a Case Study
AL MacLean, HA Harrington, MPH Stumpf, HM Byrne
in Systems Medicine: Methods in Molecular Biology; 2016, Springer.

Oral Communications & Conferences

  • “Parameter-free methods for systems biology to distinguish Wnt models and guide design of experiments” (Invited Talk)
    Mathematics of Reaction Networks Group, Dept. of Mathematical Sciences
    University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, May 2016.
  • “Single Cell Phenotyping Reveals Heterogeneity among Stem Cells Following Infection” (Poster)
    The Stem Cell Niche
    Copenhagen Biosciences Conferences, Denmark, May 2016.
  • “Haematopoietic Stem Cell Niche Dynamics: leukaemia prognosis and life histories” (Invited Talk)
    Cancer Bioinformatics Seminar Series, Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics
    University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, April 2016.
  • “Hematopoietic Stem Cell Niche Dynamics control Competition, CML Prognosis, and the Robustness of the Niche” (Poster)
    Cancer as an Evolving and Systemic Disease (Nature Conferences)
    Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA, March 2016.
  • “Parameter-free methods for systems biology distinguish Wnt pathway models and guide design of experiments” (Talk)
    25th annual MASAMB (Mathematical and Statistical Aspects of Molecular Biology)
    University of Helsinki, Finland, April 2015.
  • “Model selection and comparison of chronic myeloid leukemia” (Invited Talk)
    Meeting on Parameter Inference and Identifiability
    University of Oxford, UK, January 2014.
  • “The effects of hematopoietic stem cell niche dynamics on chronic myeloid leukemia” (Poster)
    Systems Biology of Stem Cells
    University of California Irvine, USA, June 2013.
  • “Dynamics of haematopoiesis: strategies for eradicating leukaemia from the niche” (Poster)
    International Congress on Stem Cells and Tissue Formation
    Dresden, Germany, July 2012.
  • “Population dynamics of normal and leukaemia stem cells in the haematopoietic stem cell niche” (Talk)
    MASAMB (Mathematical and Statistical Aspects of Molecular Biology)
    Berlin, Germany, April 2012.
  • “Population dynamics of healthy and leukaemia stem cells in the haematopoietic stem cell niche” (Poster)
    JST/BBSRC Molecular Imaging and Systems Biology
    Tokyo, Japan, January 2012.
  • “Modelling the haematopoietic stem cell niche with simple dynamical models of competition” (Poster)
    ENFIN Enabling Systems Biology
    UCL, London, UK, April 2011.