Graham M. Donovan

Senior Lecturer (2013- )
Head of Applied Maths Unit (2018-)
Lecturer (2011-2012)
Department of Mathematics
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142
New Zealand
+64 9 923 8780

Postdoc, 2008-2010
Auckland Bioengineering Institute
Lung Research Group
University of Auckland
with M.H. Tawhai

PhD, 2008
MSc, 2005
Applied Mathematics
Northwestern University
with W.L. Kath

BSc, 2003
University of Washington

Current opportunities

Research projects are available for motivated and capable students at all levels. Funding (fees+stipend) is available for PhD students with strong academic records. Please see contact me if interested; my recent publications indicate the kinds of project which are available. In general my group seeks to use novel mathematical, computational and statistical methods to improve understanding of biological problems, in particular in understanding the physiology of the airways in asthma, but also in other areas including immunology and plant physiology.

Research Students & Postdocs

Former students:
K. O'Byrne (PhD), P. Cao (PhD), A. Rampadarath (PhD), A. Ibarra (PhD),
S. Su (MSc), B. Yu (MSc), M. Wu (MSc & BSc honours),
E. Black (honours), Y. Pan (honours), J. Kang (BSc honours), D. Waters (BSc honours), N. Wright (BSc honours & summer), X. Lu (honours), E. Rahim (honours),
H. Wiseman (summer research scholar), J. Dowie (summer research scholar), K. McEwan (summer research scholar), J. He (summer), T. Kritter (summer), M. Khmaladze (research student), M. Hawkins (summer), S. Zhang (summer)

Former postdocs: B.J. Breen, K.E. Murphy, A.S. Purewal


Google Scholar citations
ResearcherID profile (slow to update)

† = student co-author

Some PDFs are linked below; for those that aren't, please feel free to email if you need a copy of one.


48) ———, "Generalized distribution-moment approximation for kinetic theories of muscular contraction", Mathematical Biosciences, to appear 2020. [link]

47) D Langton, C Banks, P Noble, V Plummer, F Thien and ———, "The effect of bronchial thermoplasty on airway volume measured 12 months post procedure", ERJ open research, to appear 2020.

46) KCW Wang, ———, AL James, and PB Noble, “Asthma: Pharmacological degradation of the airway smooth muscle layer”, The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, to appear 2020.

45) CD Pascoe, FHY Green, JG Elliot, AL James, PB Noble and ———, "Airway remodelling with spatial correlations: implications for asthma pathogenesis", Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, 279:2020, 103469. [link] [pdf]

44) ———, D Langton and PB Noble, "Phenotype- and patient-specific modelling in asthma: bronchial thermoplasty and uncertainty quantification," Journal of Theoretical Biology, to appear 2020. [link] [pdf]

43) ———, KCW Wang, D Shamsuddin, TS Mann, PJ Henry, AN Larcombe, and PB Noble, "Pharmacological ablation of the airway smooth muscle layer - mathematical predictions of functional improvement in asthma," Physiological Reports, 2020;8:e14451. [link] [pdf]

42) N. Sanford, ——— and W.L. Kath, "Slip rates and slip modes in an actively mode-locked laser," SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems, to appear 2020. [link] [pdf]


41) D Langton, PB Noble, F Thien and ———, "Understanding the mechanism of bronchial thermoplasty using airway volume assessed by CT", European Respiratory Journal Open Research, ERJ Open Res 2019; 0:00272-2019. [link] [pdf]

40) JG Elliot, ———, KCW Wang, FHY Green, AL James and PB Noble, "Fatty Airways: Implications for Airway Disease", European Respiratory Journal, to appear. [press (Telegraph)] [press (Gizmodo)] [press (AAAS)] [press (Daily Mail)] [press (ERS)]

39) PB Noble, D Kowlessur, AN Larcombe, ——— and KCW Wang, "Mechanical abnormalities of the airway wall in adult mice after intrauterine growth restriction", Frontiers in Physiology, Aug 2019, [link]

38) AK Rampadarath and ———, "An in silico study examining the role of airway smooth muscle dynamics and airway compliance on the rate of airway re-narrowing after deep inspiration", Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, 271:103257 2019. [link]

37) ———, JG Elliot, FHY Green, AL James and PB Noble, "Reply to Brook et al." (previously titled "Predicted functional improvement after bronchial thermoplasty is proportional to smooth muscle ablation"), American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, to appear 2019.

36) ———, "Numerical discovery and continuation of points of infinitesimal homeostasis", Mathematical Biosciences, 211:62-67, 2019. [link] [pdf]

35) ———, JG Elliot, SR Boser, FHY Green, AL James and PB Noble, "Patient-specific targeted bronchial thermoplasty: predictions of improved outcomes with structure-guided treatment", Journal of Applied Physiology, 126(3):599-606, 2019. [link] [pdf]


34) ———, "Biological version of Braess’ paradox arising from perturbed homeostasis", Phys Rev E, 98(6):1-7, 2018. [link] [pdf]

33) ———, JG Elliot, FHY Green, AL James, PB Noble, "Unravelling a clinical paradox - why does bronchial thermoplasty work in asthma?", American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, 59(3):355-362, 2018. [link] [pdf]

32) AK Rampadarath and ———, "A Distribution-Moment Approximation for Coupled Dynamics of the Airway Wall and Airway Smooth Muscle," Biophysical Journal, 114(2):493-501, 2018. [link] [pdf]


31) ———, "Inter-airway structural heterogeneity interacts with dynamic heterogeneity to determine lung function and flow patterns in both asthmatic and control simulated lungs," Journal of Theoretical Biology, 435:98-105, 2017. [link] [pdf]

30) KCW Wang, JS Morton, ST Davidge, AN Larcombe, AL James, ——— and PB Noble, "Increased heterogeneity of airway calibre in adult rats after hypoxia-induced intrauterine growth restriction," Respirology, doi: 10.1111/resp.13071, 2017. [link]

29) CD Pascoe, C Seow, T-L Hackett, P Paré, and ———, "Heterogeneity of airway dimensions in humans: a critical determinant of lung function in asthmatics and non-asthmatics", American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, 312(3):L425-L431, 2017. [link] [pdf]


28) ———, "Airway bistability is modulated by smooth muscle dynamics and length-tension characteristics," Biophysical Journal, 111:2327-2335, 2016. [link] [pdf]

27) ———, "Clustered ventilation defects and bilinear respiratory reactance in asthma," Journal of Theoretical Biology, 406:166–175, 2016. [link] [pdf]

26) ———, "Systems-level airway model of bronchoconstriction," WIREs Systems Biology and Medicine, 8: 459-467, 2016. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.1349. [link]

25) ——— and G. Lythe, "T cell and reticular network co-dependence in HIV infection," Journal of Theoretical Biology, 395(21):211–220, 2016. [link] [pdf] [associated code]


24) J. Dowie, T.K. Ansell, P.B. Noble, and ———, "Airway compliance and dynamics explain the apparent discrepancy in length adaptation between intact airways and smooth muscle strips," Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology, 220:25-32, 2016. [link] [pdf]

23) ———, "Dynamics and statistics of noise-like pulses in modelocked lasers," Physica D, 309:1-8, 2015. [link] [pdf]

22) B. Lan, L. Deng, ———, L. Chin, H. Syyong, L. Wang, J. Zhang, C. Pascoe, B. Norris, J. Liu, N. Swyngedouw, S. Banaem, P.D. Pare, and C.Y. Seow, "Force maintenance and myosin filament assembly regulated by Rho-kinase in airway smooth muscle," American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Vol. 308no. 1, L1-L10, 2015. [link]

21) ——— and T. Kritter, "Spatial pattern formation in the lung," Journal of Mathematical Biology, 70(5):1119-1149, 2015. [link] [pdf]


20) C. Pascoe, ———, Y. Bossé, C.Y. Seow, and P.D. Pare, "Bronchoprotective Effect of Simulated Deep Inspirations in Tracheal Smooth Muscle," Journal of Applied Physiology, 117(12):1502-1513, 2014. [link]

19) P. Cao, X. Tan, ———, M.J. Sanderson and J. Sneyd, "A deterministic model predicts the properties of stochastic calcium oscillations in airway smooth muscle cells," PLOS Computational Biology, 10(8): e1003783. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003783, 2014. [link] [pdf]

18) ——— and M.H. Tawhai, "Phenotype, endotype and patient-specific computational modelling for optimal treatment design in asthma," Drug Discovery Today: Disease Models, 15:23-27, 2015. [link]


17) P. Cao, ———, M. Falcke and J. Sneyd, "A stochastic model of calcium puffs based on single channel data," Biophysical Journal, 105(5):1133-1142, 2013. [pdf] [link]

16) ———, "Modelling airway smooth muscle passive length adaptation via thick filament length distributions", Journal of Theoretical Biology, 333:102-108, 2013. [pdf] [link]


15) ——— , J. Sneyd and M.H. Tawhai, "The Importance of Synergy Between Deep Inspirations and Fluidization in Reversing Airway Closure", PLoS ONE 7(11): e48552. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048552, 2012. [pdf] [link]

14) B. Breen, ——— , J. Sneyd and M.H. Tawhai, "Quantifying parenchymal tethering in a finite element simulation of a human lung slice under bronchoconstriction", Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, 183(2):85-90, 2012. [pdf] [link]

13) A.-M. Lauzon, J.H.T. Bates, ——— , M.H. Tawhai, J. Sneyd and M.J. Sanderson, "A multi-scale approach to airway hyperresponsiveness: from molecule to organ", Frontiers in Computational Physiology and Medicine, 3:191, 2012. [pdf] [link]

12) ——— and G. Lythe, "T-cell movement on the reticular network", Journal of Theoretical Biology, 295:59-67, 2012. [pdf]


11) ——— and W.L. Kath, "An iterative stochastic method for simulating large deviations and rare events", SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, 71(3):903-924, 2011. [pdf]

10) M.H. Tawhai, A.R. Clark, ——— and K.S. Burrowes, "Computational modeling of airway and pulmonary vascular structure and function: development of a 'Lung Physiome?'", Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering, 39(4):319-336, 2011. [pdf]

9) ———, "Multiscale mathematical models of airway constriction and disease", Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 24(5):533-539, 2011. [pdf]

8) S.R. Bullimore, S. Siddiqui, ———, J.G. Martin, J. Sneyd, J.H.T. Bates and A-M. Lauzon, "Could an Increase in Airway Smooth Muscle Shortening Velocity Cause Airway Hyperresponsiveness?", American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, 300(1):L121-L131, 2011. [pdf]


7) ———, S.R. Bullimore, A.J. Elvin, M.H. Tawhai, J.H.T. Bates, A-M. Lauzon and J. Sneyd, "A continous-binding crosslinker model for passive airway smooth muscle," Biophysical Journal, 99(10):3164-3171, 2010. [pdf]

6) A.Z. Politi, ———, M.H. Tawhai, M.J. Sanderson, A-M. Lauzon, J.H.T. Bates and J. Sneyd, "A multiscale, spatially-distributed model of asthmatic airway hyper-responsiveness," Journal of Theoretical Biology, 266(4):614-624, 2010. [pdf]

5) ——— and M.H. Tawhai. "A simplified model of airway narrowing due to bronchial mucosal folding," Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, 171(2):144-150, 2010. [pdf]

Conference proceedings

4) N. Broderick, M. Erkintalo, and ———. "Dynamics and statistics of noise-like pulses and Rogue Waves," Nonlinear Photonics, OSA, 2014. [link]

3) ——— and W.L. Kath, "Rare Event Simulation of the Performance of an Actively Mode-Locked Fiber Laser Model,", Photonic Applications Systems Technologies Conference, OSA, 2007. [link]

2) ———, W.L. Kath and E.T. Spiller, "Non-Gaussian Optical Field Statistics in a Long-Haul Soliton-Based DPSK Transmission System," Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, OSA, 2005. [link]

1) E.T. Spiller, ——— and W.L. Kath, "Direct Determination of Range Extension Due to Phase Conjugation in a Soliton-Based DPSK Transmission System," Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, OSA, 2005. [link]


0) ———, "Rare event simulation for lightwave systems using the cross-entropy method", Northwestern University, PhD thesis 2008. [pdf]

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