McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University

Faculty Directory

William Kath

Professor of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics

Co-Director of Institute on Complex Systems

Institute on Complex Systems

2145 Sheridan Road


Evanston, IL 60208-3109

kath( at )


Ph.D. Applied Mathematics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

S.B. Mathematics, MIT, Cambridge, MA

Research Interests

Computational neuroscience, action potential propagation and dendritic integration in neurons; predictive modeling of cancer and epigenetic networks; optical fibers and waveguides, polarization mode dispersion, importance sampling and rare event simulation in lightwave systems, optical solitons, parametric optical amplifiers, linear and nonlinear wave propagation; nonlinear dynamics, asymptotic and singular perturbation methods.

Significant Recognition

  • Fellow, Optical Society of America
  • ASEE Mathematics Division Distinguished Educator and Service Award
  • McCormick School Teaching Award

Significant Professional Service

  • Editor of Wave Motion

Selected Publications

  • Graves, Austin R.; Moore, Shannon J.; Bloss, Erik B.; Mensh, Brett D.; Kath, William L., “Hippocampal Pyramidal Neurons Comprise Two Distinct Cell Types that Are Countermodulated by Metabotropic Receptors”, Neuron, (2012)
  • Li, W.; Kath, W. L.; Cembrowski, M. S.; Logan, S. M.; Tian, M., “The Mechanisms of Repetitive Spike Generation in an Axonless Retinal Interneuron”, Cell Reports, (2012)
  • J. Li and W. L. Kath, “EXTRACTING SOLITONS FROM NOISY PULSES”, Siam Journal on Applied Mathematics, (2012)
  • MEJ Sheffield;TK Best;BD Mensh;WL Kath;N Spruston, “Slow integration leads to persistent action potential firing in distal axons of coupled interneurons”, Nature Neuroscience, (2011)
  • Graham M. Donovan;William L. Kath, “AN ITERATIVE STOCHASTIC METHOD FOR SIMULATING LARGE DEVIATIONS AND RARE EVENTS”, Siam Journal on Applied Mathematics, (2011)
  • V MENON;N SPRUSTON;WL KATH, “A state-mutating genetic algorithm to design ion-channel models”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, (2009)
  • ET SPILLER, WL KATH, “A Method for Determining Most Probable Errors in Nonlinear Lightwave Systems”, SIAM JOURNAL ON APPLIED DYNAMICAL SYSTEMS, (2008)

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