Professor John Terry PhD

Professor John Terry

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
Interdisciplinary Professorial Fellow
Director, Centre for Systems Modelling & Quantitative Biomedicine
Theme Lead Systems Modelling & IMSR Deputy Director

Contact details

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research,
College of Medical and Dental Science
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor John Terry is Interdisciplinary Professorial Fellow: a post he holds jointly across Mathematics, Computer Science and the Institute for Metabolism and Systems Research. John’s research transcends traditional discipline boundaries speaking to mathematics, computer science, physics, biology, biomedical and clinical sciences. John has substantially contributed to approaching 70 pieces of original research and has a very strong track-record of research funding. John holds 1 patent with 2 pending, and is co-founder of Neuronostics (a start-up company established in 2018). John sits on a number of national and international committees including the EPSRC peer-review college, the MRC non-clinical training and career development panel, the UKRI future leaders fellowship committee and the Epilepsy Research UK scientific advisory committee. John is also a passionate science communicator and co-wrote and co-directed Beyond My Control: a unique piece of theatre that brings to life what it is like to have epilepsy, the mathematics behind understanding brain networks and how this can be used to better diagnose epilepsy. 

Director of the Centre for Systems, Modelling and Quantitative Biomedicine

Centre Twitter handle

Audience feedback from the performance of Beyond My Control at the Exeter Northcott Theatre on 04 Feb 2018

Feedback from Beyond My Control


  • PhD in Applied Mathematics 2000 University of Surrey
  • BSc (Hons) in Mathematics 1997 University of Reading


John is Interdisciplinary Professorial Fellow, a role he holds jointly between Mathematics, Computer Science and the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research. This appointment reflects John’s passion for interdisciplinary research and for connecting people from different communities to work collaboratively on biomedical and clinical research challenges. In 2016 John introduced the concept of the “research incubator”: inspired by business incubators but repurposed to serve the needs of interdisciplinary research. Over 30 projects teams have been through the incubator thus far resulting in 2 patents applied for, 25 publications and counting, as well as leveraging over £10M in further funding.

John has substantially contributed to approaching 70 pieces of original research (in areas as diverse as attractor theory, cardiac arrhythmias, epilepsy, the mammalian stress response and nonlinear laser dynamics). John holds 1 patent with 2 pending, and alongside Wessel Woldman is co-founder of Neuronostics (a spinout established in 2018). John is a passionate science communicator and partnering with Paul Jepson and the Exeter Northcott Theatre co-wrote and co-directed Beyond My Control, a unique piece of theatre that brings to life what it is like to have epilepsy, the mathematics behind understanding brain networks and how this can be used to better diagnose epilepsy.

John is also motivated by developing leadership: both his own and in others. He is a graduate of the Leadership Foundation’s Senior Strategic Leadership Course (2016) and was one of just 14 individuals selected to graduate from the 6th and final cohort of the Wellcome Trust’s Research Leadership Development Programme (2018/19). Partnering with Julian Shreeve, he has established a leadership programme for early career researchers built around developing productive communication skills, needs identification and screening, creating narratives, and interview performance. John has successfully mentored 15 early career researchers to secure independent research fellowships valued in excess of £7M since 2016.

Postgraduate supervision

John has a strong track-record of PhD supervision. His first student – Serafim Rodrigues – graduated from Loughborough University in 2006 and is now Ikerbasque Research Professor at the Basque Centre for Applied Mathematics. Since then a further 7 PhD students have successfully graduated under John’s supervision. All have established strong careers in academia or industry, including 3 with permanent academic roles.

John welcomes applications from prospective PhD candidates who seek to push the frontiers of knowledge through mathematical or data science approaches to understanding biological, biomedical or clinical questions.


John has a long track-record in multidisciplinary research with scientists in clinical and experimental neuroscience, where he is internationally renowned for systems modelling approaches in neuroscience and endocrinology, in particular applications to epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis. John’s current research includes:

  • Characterising the evolution of epilepsies using neural modelling techniques, with the aim to create improved diagnosis techniques for clinicians and to better predict treatment outcomes.
  • Developing tools for describing networks of interacting brain regions and characterising seizure initiation based upon network structure.
  • Developing models for interpreting the effects of Deep Brain Stimulation with applications to Parkinson’s and Epilepsy.
  • Exploring the interactions between neural dynamics and hormone secretions in the Hypothalmic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis; by understanding the mechanisms responsible for fluctuations observed in blood concentrations of steroids, more appropriate treatments for a number of clinical conditions may be developed.
  • Developing models of the phenomenology of electrical data recording clinically during radiofrequency ablation therapy for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias.

Other activities

Current activities

  • Epilepsy Research UK Scientific Advisory Committee (2018-DATE)
  • UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship Panel Committee (2018-DATE)
  • Neuronostics Co-Founder and Director (2018-DATE)
  • MRC Non-Clinical Training and Career Development Panel (2017-DATE)
  • International League Against Epilepsy Task Force on Network Basis of Disease (2017-DATE)
  • EPSRC Peer-Review College (2011-DATE)

Previous activities

MRC Skills Development Panel (2014-2017)


Recent publications


Lopes, MA, Junges, L, Tait, L, Terry, JR, Abela, E, Richardson, MP & Goodfellow, M 2020, 'Computational modelling in source space from scalp EEG to inform presurgical evaluation of epilepsy', Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology, vol. 131, no. 1, pp. 225-234.

Zavala, E, Voliotis, M, Zerenner, T, Tabak, J, Walker, JJ, Feng Li, X, Terry, J, Lightman, SL, O'Byrne, K & Tsaneva-Atanasova, K 2020, 'Dynamic hormone control of stress and fertility', Frontiers in Physiology.

Woldman, W, Schmidt, H, Abela, E, Chowdhury, FA, Pawley, AD, Jewell, S, Richardson, MP & Terry, JR 2020, 'Dynamic network properties of the interictal brain determine whether seizures appear focal or generalised', Scientific Reports, vol. 10, 7043.

Junges, L, Woldman, W, Benjamin, O & Terry, J 2020, 'Epilepsy surgery: Evaluating robustness using dynamic network models', Chaos.

Lopes, MA, Goodfellow, M & Terry, JR 2019, 'A model-based assessment of the seizure onset zone predictive power to inform the epileptogenic zone', Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, vol. 13, 25.

Słowiński, P, Sheybani, L, Michel, CM, Richardson, MP, Quairiaux, C, Terry, JR & Goodfellow, M 2019, 'Background EEG connectivity captures the time-course of epileptogenesis in a mouse model of epilepsy', eNeuro, vol. 6, no. 4.

Lopes, MA, Perani, S, Yaakub, SN, Richardson, MP, Goodfellow, M & Terry, JR 2019, 'Revealing epilepsy type using a computational analysis of interictal EEG', Scientific Reports, vol. 9, 10169 .

Smithers, HE, Terry, JR, Brown, JT & Randall, AD 2019, 'Sex-associated differences in excitability within the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis are reflective of cell-type', Neurobiology of Stress, vol. 10, 100143.

Junges, L, Lopes, MA, Terry, JR & Goodfellow, M 2019, 'The role that choice of model plays in predictions for epilepsy surgery', Scientific Reports, vol. 9, 7351.

Ferrat, LA, Goodfellow, M & Terry, JR 2018, 'Classifying dynamic transitions in high dimensional neural mass models: a random forest approach', PLoS Computational Biology, vol. 14, no. 3, e1006009.

Lopes, MA, Richardson, MP, Abela, E, Rummel, C, Schindler, K, Goodfellow, M & Terry, JR 2018, 'Elevated ictal brain network ictogenicity enables prediction of optimal seizure control.', Frontiers in neurology, vol. 9, 98.

Smithers, HE, Terry, JR, Brown, JT & Randall, AD 2017, 'Aging-associated changes to intrinsic neuronal excitability in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis is cell type-dependent', Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, vol. 9, 424.

Lopes, MA, Richardson, MP, Abela, E, Rummel, C, Schindler, K, Goodfellow, M & Terry, JR 2017, 'An optimal strategy for epilepsy surgery: disruption of the rich-club?', PLoS Computational Biology, vol. 13, no. 8, e1005637.


Goodfellow, M, Rummel, C, Abela, E, Richardson, MP, Schindler, K & Terry, JR 2017, 'Computer models to inform epilepsy surgery strategies: prediction of postoperative outcome', Brain, vol. 140, no. 5, pp. e30.


Woldman, W, Cook, MJ & Terry, JR 2019, 'Evolving dynamic networks: an underlying mechanism of drug resistance in epilepsy?', Epilepsy & Behavior, vol. 94, pp. 264-268.

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