Academia & Teaching

I am currently working as a Postdoctoral Associate at Mississippi State University.

Prior to my current position I taught in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield. I completed a PhD with Dr Jonathan Potts and Professor Ben Hatchwell. My PhD studies focused on partial differential equation and individual-based models of the home range patterns of Long Tailed Tits. See here and here for more information on the project.

Whilst at Sheffield I lectured the 3rd and 4th level course “spatial pattern formation in biology” which was part of MAS316 – The mathematics of natural systems. Alongside this I taught various tutorial classes for engineering undergraduates. I regularly do outreach talks to the general public and other academics. I trained to be a teacher at the Kings School in Macclesfield with the University of Manchester. Following this I held a position at Silverdale School in Sheffield, teaching 11-18 for two years.

I have held a range of teaching and volunteering roles over my doctoral studies which include organising and chairing two seminar series, lead demonstrating and assistant demonstrating on undergraduate mathematics and engineering modules and lecturing on open days. Additionally, I am involved in meetings to discuss the structure of teaching within the university and outreach projects.  

Previous  and Upcoming Talks

  • October 2021 (Cheltenham Literature Festival) – Alan Turing’s patterns in nature with Sir Dermot Turing
  • September 2021 (University of Sheffield) – Celebrating Turing’s work in Mathematical Biology – ‘The shape and form of Alan Turing’ with Sir Dermot Turing
  • September 2021 (BES Quantitative Ecology meeting) – ‘Mechanistic home range analysis to understand the space use of animals’ – Invited keynote talk (watch here)
  • August 2021 (Top Secret Late at Manchester Science and Industry Museum) – Alan Turing’s patterns in nature with Sir Dermot Turing
  • June 2021 (SMB conference) – ‘Using modelling in mathematical biology as an educational tool: from schools to higher education‘- Mini Symposium with Dr Alex Fletcher and Prof Nick Monk.
  • May 2021 (University of Oxford- The Invariant Society) – ‘Turing’s Theory of Morphogenesis: Teaching, Research, and Public Understanding’ – Invited talk with Dr Andrew Krause
  • August 2020 (University of São Paulo) – ‘Mechanistic home range analysis of non-territorial passerines’ – Invited talk
  • April 2020 (University of Oxford) Behaviour and Ecology Seminar Series – ‘Space use patterns of long-tailed tits’ – Invited talk
  • December 2019 (Belfast) BES Annual Meeting 2019 – ‘ Mechanistic home range analysis reveals drivers of space use patterns for long-tailed tits’ link to link to slides
  • September 2019 (Millennium Gallery) Pop up university – ‘ Using mathematics to save our species’  link to abstractlink to slides
  • August 2019 (BirdFair) Merlin Lecture Theatre  – ‘ Using mathematics to save our species’  link to abstract
  • May 2019 (University of Sheffield) International Women in Mathematics Event  – ‘The mathematics of animal space-use’
  • May 2019 (University of Sheffield) Life History and Behaviour group – ‘Turing Patterns’
  • January 2019 (University of Sheffield) Life History and Behaviour group – ‘Mechanistically predicting the home range patterns of long-tailed tits’
  • November 2018 (University of Sheffield) Undergraduate Seminar Series: –‘Pattern formation in Mathematics and its Application to Animal Space Use’.
  • October 2018 (University of Sheffield) -‘Modelling the Home Ranges of Long Tailed Tits using Partial Differential Equations’.
  • June 2018 (Iwokrama Research Centre, Guyana) – ‘Modelling Animal Movement Using Mathematics’.
  • March 2018 (The Showroom Sheffield) – ‘How do we use mathematics to understand ecological processes?’.
  • February 2018, (University of Sheffield) Mathematics and Statistics Student Seminar – ‘Mathematical Applications to Ecology’.
  • February 2018, (University of Sheffield) Mathematical Biology PhD Learning Group – ‘Pattern Formation in Mathematical Biology’.
  • July 2017 (Movement Ecology, Charles Darwin House)- ‘Home Range Emergence of Long Tailed Tits’.
  • December 2016 (University of Sheffield) – ‘Step Selection Functions as Models of the Home Range Emergence of Long Tailed Tits’.
  • 2016-2018, (University of Sheffield) Undergraduate Open Days Lecture – ‘Using Mathematics to Model Nature’.

Conferences and Workshops

  • Society of Mathematical Biology,  University of California Riverside (online), June 2021.
  • British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, Belfast, December 2019.
  • Philip Maini’s 60th Birthday Workshop, on growth and pattern formation, University of Oxford, September 2019.
  • British Ecological Society’s Movement Ecology and Quantitative Ecology Meeting, University of Sheffield, July 2019.
  • British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, Birmingham, December 2018.
  • European Conference of Mathematical and Theoretical Biology, University of Lisbon, July 2018.
  • Models in Population Dynamics, Ecology and Evolution, University of Leicester, April 2018.
  • Mathematics Behind Complex Ecological Patterns, University of Birmingham,  December 2017.
  • Movement Ecology: Integrating big data and mathematical modelling, British Ecological Society, London, July 2017.
  • Models in Ecology and Evolution, City University of London, July 2017.
  • Workshop on Mathematical Ecology, University of Swansea, April 2017.


Ellison, N, Hatchwell, BJ, Biddiscombe, SJ, Napper, CJ, Potts, JR. (2020) Mechanistic home range analysis reveals drivers of space use patterns for a non-territorial passerine. J Anim Ecol; 00: 1– 14. link


Ellison, N. (2021) Revealing the drivers of space use patterns in a bird population using mechanistic modelling. link