Back to Home Rod Smallwood FREng FRCP FInstP FIET

Emeritus Professor of Computational Systems Biology
Self portrait in IcelandRod outside Kroto
"Knowledge is extracted from a fully integrated world.
Knowledge is 'dis-integrated' by disciplinary units called Departments in Universities.
How can knowledge, discovery and dissemination be re-integrated?"

(Richard Zare, BioX initiative, Stanford University)

Work-life balance - selected non-work images

“A scientist … is usually expected not to write on any topic of which he is not a master… We are only now beginning to acquire reliable material for welding together the sum total of all that is known into a whole [but] it has become next to impossible for a single mind fully to command more than a small specialised portion… I can see no other escape from this dilemma than that some of us should venture to embark on a synthesis of facts and theories, albeit with second-hand and incomplete knowledge … and at the risk of making fools of ourselves” (from the preface to Erwin Schrödinger's 'What is Life')

“The problem of biology is not to stand aghast at the complexity but to conquer it.”   Sidney Brenner

“Although the road ahead is long and winding, it leads to a future where biology and medicine are transformed into precision engineering.”   Hiroaki Kitano

I retired, in the formal sense, in 2010, but continued to act as the University Director of Research and Innovation for Healthcare across the Disciplines for a further two years. I am now self-employed, do not teach or supervise students, but I am still research-active and involved in professional activities.

The Epitheliome Project uses individual-based modelling to explore the development of structure and function in epithelial tissues. The Project started in 2001, and we have published extensively on the growth of urothelial tissue, wound healing in skin, and remodelling in coronary arteries following stent insertion. The ability to model changes as a result of tissue remodelling is particularly exciting. The Epitheliome Project is part of both the IUPS Physiome Project and the EU Virtual Physiological Human (VPH). You can watch Dawn Walker and I talking about skin modelling for GEO (Global Educational Outreach) here. A short introduction to modelling epithelial tissue, written for a VPH textbook, can be found here.

EPSRC funding for the Epitheliome Project has now finished. A major new project, AirPROM, started in February 2011 and finished in June 2016. AirPROM (Airway Disease: Predicting Outcomes through Patient Specific Computational Modelling) was an EU FP7 Integrated Project lead by Professor Chris Brightling at the University of Leicester. The €12m project aimed to "bridge the critical gaps in our clinical management of airways disease, by providing validated models to predict disease progression and response to treatment and the platform to translate these patient-specific tools, so as to pave the way to improved, personalised management of airways disease". We were involved in two parts of the project - using hyper-polarised Helium-3 imaging to quantify gas exchange (Professor Jim Wild in Radiology); and developing a cell-based computational model that could predict the remodelling of airways as a result of exposure to allergens and irritants.

FLAME (Flexible Large-scale Agent Modelling Environment) is a modelling environment for robust individual-based modelling at length scales from molecular to society. We developed the framework for the Epitheliome Project, and it has been used in both biology and finance. The examples on the FLAME web site are based on both biological and financial models. The software can be down-loaded for academic use from CCPForge. Details of FLAME have been posted on the IMAG_Wiki - IMAG is the NIH Interagency Modeling and Analysis Group, and the Wiki is an excellent source of information and tools.

North Campus and Kroto Research Institute
Brief biography
Selected publications

Emails containing executables or web links from unknown addresses are deleted! This includes Microsoft Word or Excel documents which can contain executables. Plain text, HTML and PDF documents are safe, and I will read them. Look at the web site of Tim Berners-Lee for email protocol. My email address is r.smallwood at

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Last updated 10/07/2016
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