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Dr Simon Mitchell

Simon Mitchell

Dr Simon Mitchell (PhD)

Lecturer in Cancer Research
Location: Room 2.08 Medical Teaching Building, BSMS, University of Sussex BN1 9PX

Area of expertise: Systems Biology

Research areas: DLBCL and other haematological malignancies. Computational and mathematical modelling. Immunity and inflammation. Cell signalling and cell fate.


Based on his training in Computer Science and Mathematics, Simon was awarded a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Studentship to pursue a Systems Biology PhD from the University of Manchester. Following his PhD in 2013, and a brief visiting researcher position at the University of Warwick, Simon undertook postdoctoral training in Prof Alexander Hoffmann’s lab at UCLA (USA). Simon was awarded a UCLA Collaboratory Fellowship to pursue collaborative research and graduate-level teaching for four consecutive years. Simon has published numerous first-author papers (including in Immunity, PNAS and PLOS Computational Biology), multiple reviews, contributed a chapter describing computational modeling approaches to textbooks of laboratory techniques, and contributed to multiple successfully-funded NIH grants. Driven to use systems biology to translate findings from molecular biology to clinical insight Simon joined BSMS in 2019.


Simon’s primary research focus is in understanding how intracellular, molecular signalling networks control immune cell fate, and how misregulation of these molecular networks lead to haematological malignancies. His combination of immunology and haematological training lead to a particular interest in B-cell lymphomas. 

Simon combines data across temporal and spatial scales into computational simulations to explore how molecular events (taking <1 second at the nanometre scale) propagate through signalling dynamics and cell-population responses to contribute to whole-body outcomes (taking >1 month at scales of > 1 meter).

Simon has particular interest in the regulation of transcription factor NF-κB and its contribution to cell fate decisions in cancer, immunity and inflammation. His long-term ambition is to develop simulations capable of being parameterized from patient-specific data to be used in the clinic for personalized therapeutic guidance.

He also contributes computational systems biology approaches to many productive collaborations from neuroscience to iron regulation and is always looking for new collaborations where exciting biological questions require novel analytical approaches.


Simon is passionate about making challenging subjects welcoming and engaging through research-led teaching and research supervision. Simon was awarded a UCLA fellowship to teach quantitative, computational skills, where his inclusive and engaging teaching style has taught many biologists and clinicians to write their first lines of computer code. He co-authored guidelines (published in Trends In Immunology) on teaching and training interdisciplinary students in increasingly data-rich environments, and has been invited to share his insight at international conferences.

Selected publications

Roy, K.*, S. Mitchell*, Y. Liu, S. Ohta, Y.-s. Lin, M. O. Metzig, S. L. Nutt and A. Hoffmann (2019). "A Regulatory Circuit Controlling the Dynamics of NFκB cRel Transitions B Cells from Proliferation to Plasma Cell Differentiation." Immunity.

Mitchell, S.*, E. Mercado, J. Ho*, Q. Cheng, G. Ghosh and A. Hoffmann (2019). "An NFkB activity calculator to delineate signaling crosstalk: Type I and II interferons enhance NFkB via distinct mechanisms." Frontiers in Immunology 10: 1425.

Mitchell, S. and A. Hoffmann (2019). "Substrate complex competition is a regulatory motif that allows NFκB RelA to license but not amplify NFκB RelB." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116(21): 10592-10597.

Yeom, K.-H., S. Mitchell, A. J. Linares, S. Zheng, C.-H. Lin, X.-J. Wang, A. Hoffmann and D. L. Black (2018). "Polypyrimidine tract-binding protein blocks miRNA-124 biogenesis to enforce its neuronal-specific expression in the mouse." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115(47): E11061-E11070.

Mitchell, S.*, K. Roy*, T. A. Zangle and A. Hoffmann (2018). "Nongenetic origins of cell-to-cell variability in B lymphocyte proliferation." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115(12): E2888-E2897.

Mitchell, S. and A. Hoffmann (2018). "Identifying noise sources governing cell-to-cell variability." Current opinion in systems biology 8: 39-45.

Mitchell, S., J. Vargas and A. Hoffmann (2016). "Signaling via the NFκB system." Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Systems Biology and Medicine 8(3): 227-241.

Spreafico, R.*, S. Mitchell* and A. Hoffmann* (2015). "Training the 21st century immunologist." Trends in Immunology 36(5): 283-285.

Mitchell, S., R. Tsui and A. Hoffmann (2015). Studying NF-κB signaling with mathematical models. NF-kappa B, Humana Press, New York, NY: 647-661.

Mitchell, S. and P. Mendes (2013). "A computational model of liver iron metabolism." PLoS computational biology 9(11): e1003299.

* = equal contribution.