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Denis Noble in 2022 at Hay-on-Wye IAI Festival

Denis Noble in 2022 at Hay-on-Wye IAI Festival

Denis Noble


Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology

Research and Publications


Denis Noble developed the first mathematical model of cardiac cells in 1960 using his discovery, with his supervisor Otto Hutter, of two of the main cardiac potassium ion channels. These discoveries were published in Nature (1960) and The Journal of Physiology (1962). The work was later developed with Dick Tsien, Dario DiFrancesco, Don Hilgemann, Yung Earm, Ten Tusscher & Panfilov, and others to become the canonical models on which more than 100 cardiac cell models are based today. All are available on the CellML website

More recently he has developed skeletal muscle models, published in the ground-breaking PHYSIOME journal:  formulation of the model and its use in the relief of muscle cramp. More information on this project on the Denis Noble website's University of Oxford Innovative Systems Biology Project page.

He was elected President of the International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS) at its Congress in Kyoto in 2009. He was then elected for a second term at the 2013 Congress in Birmingham, UK. He also delivered the opening plenary lecture at the Congress (see Music of Life link) which is also published as an article in Experimental Physiology (2013). 

He is the author of the first popular book on Systems Biology, The Music of Life (OUP 2006), and his most recent lectures concern the implications for evolutionary biology. To follow the debate on this see the FAQ (Answers) pages on the Denis Noble website. See also his debate with Richard Dawkins in 2022. 

His book, Dance to the Tune of Life. Biological Relativity (CUP 2016), extends the systems approach to biology, including evolutionary biology, while Understanding living Systems (CUP 2023) is a popular book written for educated lay readers. 

Denis Noble has published more than 700 papers and 12 books. 5 of his publications have more than 1000 citations. Over 80 have more than 100 citations.

Lecture to Cancer & Evolution Symposium 2020

Cellular Darwinism: regulatry networks, stochasticity and selection in cancer development

Physiological Society Lecture, London 2016

Dance to the Tune of Life. A physiologist enters the lion's den of evolutionary biology

What is Life?

Lecture at Karolinska Institute 2014

The integration of evolutionary biology with physiological science

Conversation with Mike Joyner at EB2015 in Boston, chaired by David Paterson

Key publications

Recent publications

More publications

Music of Life Lecture-Concert Sheffield University 2012

Popular lecture interspersed with virtuoso guitar performances by Christoph Denoth

Oxford Trobadors Concert

Hugely successful Concert recorded live to a full house in The Holywell Music Room on 23rd January 2016. Including popular favourites, Nadau ta Baptista, Arron d'Aimar, La Sestina, Immortela, Se Canta.........