skip to content

Coupling geometric PDEs with physics for cell morphology, motility and pattern formation

Participation in INI programmes is by invitation only. Anyone wishing to apply to participate in the associated workshop(s) should use the relevant workshop application form.

13th July 2015 to 18th December 2015

Organisers: Rudolf Leube (RWTH Aachen), Anotida Madzvamuse (Sussex), Rudolf Merkel (Forschungszentrum Jülich) and Hans Othmer (Minnesota)

Scientific Advisory Committee: Leah Edelstein-Keshet (British Columbia), Charles Elliott (Warwick), Reinhard Lipowsky (Humboldt), Philip Maini (Oxford) and Fred Nijhout (Duke)

Programme Theme

The aim of this six-month research programme is to create a unique forum to strengthen and develop research links between state-of-the-art experimental "wet" sciences (biology, medicine, bio-physics) and theoretical "dry" sciences (pure, applied and computational mathematics, theoretical physics, statistics). In this programme we will discuss and present in a hands-on format current experimental methodology for cell motility and pattern formation. We will emphasise interactions between experimentalists and theoreticians, with the dual goals of understanding how current mathematical techniques from physics, differential geometry, mathematical modelling and numerical analysis can help to understand current problems in the areas of cell motility and pattern formation, and what new mathematical techniques may emerge in the process.

The research programme will commence with an initial 10-day research-lecture-intensive Postgraduate Advanced Study Institute in Mathematical and Physical Sciences (PASI-MPS). The objective of this introductory course is to introduce major concepts, approaches and current challenges in the different disciplines investigating cell motility and pattern formation. The PASI-MPS will be followed by a week-long workshop that will offer participants a "hands on" opportunity to experience current experimental techniques in laboratories at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Anatomy, RWTH Aachen University and the Institute of Complex Systems Biomechanics, Juelich in Germany. Specific bench-mark research questions, based on experimentally acquired data, will be formulated and addressed which will form the basis of the work during the remainder of the programme. These instructional events will be followed by three workshops covering different aspects of cell mechanics, morphogenesis, pattern formation and new mathematical and computational approaches to describe these phenomena. All workshops will combine experiments, modelling, analysis, simulations and applications. Our research programme will beam real-time lectures and experimental demonstrations in laboratories and research institutes and centres from around the world, to lecture halls at the Isaac Newton Institute.

These activities aim to foster interactions and discussions among participants and disseminate new techniques and results. Each of the workshops will focus on cross-fertilisation between the proposed research areas in order to bring world-leading expertise to a single forum for rapid dissemination of results and exchange of ideas. There will be a one-day Open for Business event to take place during the last workshop in order to bring to the forum industrial partners, non-governmental organisations and other interested stakeholders.

Programme logo and video provided by Forschungszentrum Jülich, Institute of Complex Systems, ICS-7.




University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons