Dr Nicholas Hamilton

To develop new methodologies in machine learning and artificial intelligence to generate useful predictive mathematical models


Dr Nick Hamilton is the Institute Bio-Mathematician at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), The University of Queensland, and holds a co-appointment with the Research Computing Centre at UQ.

He gained a PhD in Pure Mathematics from the University of Western Australia in 1996 and was subsequently awarded Fellowships in Australia and Belgium. In 2002, Nick made the decision to change fields into the exciting new areas of computational biology and bioinformatics, returned to Australia, and subsequently took up a position within the ARC Centre of Excellence in Bioinformatics at UQ.

In 2008 he was appointed as a Laboratory Head at IMB, and Institute Bio-Mathematician in 2014, where he continues to lead a group in bio-image informatics, mathematical modelling and data visualisation,  developing methodologies to deal with the current deluge of data that new microscopy imaging technologies have enabled.

90 seconds with Dr Hamilton



Professor Richard Lewis

Dr Nicholas Hamilton

Biomathematician & Senior Research Fellow

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"What inspires me is having the opportunity to observe and find the order, symmetry and mathematical patterns in the biological systems that I and my collaborators study."
Dr Nicholas Hamilton



What inspires Dr Hamilton

Research highlights

The ureteric tree of the kidney is the complex branching structure on which nephrons, the filtering units of the kidney, grow. A research highlight would be the program of research which led to the discovery by my group that the growth of the ureteric tree as it develops follows essentially the same pattern every time. We then found a set of simple mathematical rules that described that pattern of growth. The rules turned out to be similar to the Fibonacci / Golden Ratio rules that can often be found in nature such as in the patterning of shells and sunflowers.

The following image represents the pattern of 6 stages of early growth of the ureteric tree.


J. Lefevre, T.O. Lamberton, K.M. Short, O. Michos, D. Graf, I.M. Smyth, N.A. Hamilton. Branching morphogenesis in the developing kidney is governed by rules that pattern the ureteric tree. Development 144:4377-4385 (2017).

T. Lamberton, J. Lefevre, K.M. Short, I.M. Smyth, N.A. Hamilton. Comparing and distinguishing the structure of biological branching. Journal of Theoretical Biology 365(21):226-237 (2015).

A.N. Combes, K.M. Short, J. Lefevre, N.A. Hamilton, M.H. Little, I.M. Smyth. An integrated pipeline for the multidimensional analysis of organ development. Nature Protocols 9(12):2859-2879 (2014).

K.M. Short,  A.N. Combes, J. Lefevre, A.L. Ju, K.M. Georgas, T. Lamberton, O. Cairncross, B.A. Rumballe, A.P. McMahon, N.A. Hamilton, I.M. Smyth, M.H. Little. Global quantification of tissue dynamics in the developing mouse kidney. Developmental Cell 29:188-202 (2014).

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