Section: Scientific Foundations

PDE models

If we consider cell populations as a continuous medium, then cell concentrations can be described by reaction-diffusion systems of equations with convective terms. The diffusion terms correspond to a random cell motion and the reaction terms to cell proliferation, differentiation and death. These are more traditional models  with properties that depend on the particular problem under consideration and with many open questions, both from the point of view of their mathematical properties and for applications. In particular we are interested in the spreading of cell populations which describes the development of leukemia in the bone marrow and many other biological phenomena (solid tumors, morphogenesis, atherosclerosis, and so on). From the mathematical point of view, these are reaction-diffusion waves, intensively studied in relation with various biological problems. We will continue our studies of wave speed, stability, nonlinear dynamics and pattern formation. From the mathematical point of view, these are elliptic and parabolic problems in bounded or unbounded domains, and integro-differential equations. We will investigate the properties of the corresponding linear and nonlinear operators (Fredholm property, solvability conditions, spectrum, and so on). Theoretical investigations of reaction-diffusion-convection models will be accompanied by numerical simulations and will be applied to study hematopoiesis.

Hyperbolic problems are also of importance when describing cell population dynamics (  ,  ), and they proved effective in hematopoiesis modelling (  ,  ,  ). They are structured transport partial differential equations, in which the structure is a characteristic of the considered population, for instance age, size, maturity, protein concentration, etc. The transport, or movement in the structure space, simulates the progression of the structure variable, growth, maturation, protein synthesis, etc. Several questions are still open in the study of transport PDE, yet we will continue our analysis of these equations by focusing in particular on the asymptotic behaviour of the system (stability, bifurcation, oscillations) and numerical simulations of nonlocal transport PDE.

The use of age structure often leads to a reduction (by integration over the age variable) to nonlocal problems  . The nonlocality can be either in the structure variable or in the time variable  . In particular, when coefficients of an age-structured PDE are not supposed to depend on the age variable, this reduction leads to delay differential equations.

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