Richard Timothy Durrett

  • James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics
  • Professor of Mathematics
  • Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Mathematics
External address: 105 Physics Building, Box 90320, Durham, NC 27708-0320
Internal office address: Dept of Math, Box 90320, Durham, NC 27708-0320
Phone: (919) 660-6970

Research Areas and Keywords

Biological Modeling
population genetics, selective sweeps, stepping stone models, interacting particle systems, contact processes, spatial ecological models, cancer modeling, tumor heterogeneity
probability, stochastic processes, random graphs, dynamics on networks, dynamics of networks
Education & Training
  • Ph.D., Stanford University 1976

Collaborative Research: The role of spatial interactions in determining the distribution of savanna and forest awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2019

Mathematical Analysis of Spatial Cancer Models awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2019

Interacting Particle Systems on Lattices and on Graphs awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2018

Biodiversity and Evolution - Support for US Participants awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2015

Stochastic Spatial Models: on Complex Networks, Coevolution, and Modeling Cancer awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2015

Mathematical Models of Cancer Initiation, Progression, and Resistance to Therapy awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2015

Ecology awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2013

Participant Support for Workshop for Women in Probability 2012 awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2013

Chung, KL, Durrett, R, and Durrett, R. "Downcrossings and local time." Selected Works of Kai Lai Chung. January 1, 2008. 585-587. Full Text

Bessonov, M, and Durrett, R. "Phase transitions for a planar quadratic contact process (Accepted)." Advances in Applied Mathematics 87 (June 2017): 82-107. Full Text

Durrett, R, and Fan, W-TL. "Genealogies in expanding populations." The Annals of Applied Probability 26.6 (December 2016): 3456-3490. Full Text

Cox, JT, and Durrett, R. "Evolutionary games on the torus with weak selection." Stochastic Processes and their Applications 126.8 (August 2016): 2388-2409. Full Text

Ryser, MD, Worni, M, Turner, EL, Marks, JR, Durrett, R, and Hwang, ES. "Outcomes of Active Surveillance for Ductal Carcinoma in Situ: A Computational Risk Analysis." Journal of the National Cancer Institute 108.5 (May 2016). Full Text

Durrett, R, Foo, J, and Leder, K. "Spatial Moran models, II: cancer initiation in spatially structured tissue." Journal of Mathematical Biology 72.5 (April 2016): 1369-1400. Full Text

Durrett, R, and Zhang, Y. "Coexistence of grass, saplings and trees in the Staver–Levin forest model." The Annals of Applied Probability 25.6 (December 2015): 3434-3464. Full Text

Talkington, A, and Durrett, R. "Estimating Tumor Growth Rates In Vivo." Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 77.10 (October 2015): 1934-1954. Full Text

Varghese, C, and Durrett, R. "Spatial networks evolving to reduce length." Journal of Complex Networks 3.3 (September 2015): 411-430. Full Text

Ryser, MD, Myers, ER, and Durrett, R. "HPV clearance and the neglected role of stochasticity." PLoS computational biology 11.3 (March 13, 2015): e1004113-. Full Text Open Access Copy

Durrett, R, and Moseley, S. "Spatial Moran models I. Stochastic tunneling in the neutral case." The Annals of Applied Probability 25.1 (February 2015): 104-115. Full Text


This summer, North Carolina School of Science and Math student Mridu Nanda spent five weeks on the Duke campus working with James B. Duke Professor Rick Durrett. The topic of their research was Spatial Evolutionary Games, which can be used to study... read more »

Active surveillance could be a viable alternative to surgery and radiation for select patients with ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, according to a mathematical model developed by researchers at Duke University.... read more »

An artist's illustration of HPV. Credit: JAMA, ©AMA

Researchers are building complex mathematical models to understand cancer's evolution and how to treat it. Durham, NC - Two Duke researchers are focusing on the deadly mathematics behind the mutated genes and damaged cells that drive cancer.  "... read more »

A computer simulation of a virtual city containing two groups of people shows how the distribution of neighborhoods with a given racial makeup is likely to change as the density of households -- regardless of their group identity -- increases past a certain threshold. Courtesy of Rick Durrett and Yuan Zhang

Durham, NC - Racially and economically mixed cities are more likely to stay integrated if the density of households stays low, finds a new analysis of a now-famous model of segregation. By simulating the movement of families between neighborhoods in... read more »