School of Mathematics

Maxwell Colloquium 10 February: Modelling Collective Cell Motion

At 4pm on Tuesday 10th February the Maxwell Institute will host a colloquium by distinguished professor Philip K. Maini from the University of Oxford, entitled "Case Studies in Modelling Collective Cell Motion". This will be in Lecture Theatre B of the James Clerk Maxwell Building and will be followed by a reception.

Abstract In many biological situations, cells move as groups. This is important for certain developmental processes, where the consequences of cells not reaching their target can lead to abnormalities. In a disease such as cancer, cell movement leads to potentially fatal secondary tumours. Collective cell movement is a complex process because cells signal to each other, distort the environment in which they move and this, in turn, affects the ability of cells to invade their surroundings. Experimental approaches, and the inherent simplifications made, are not ideally suited to investigate such feedback phenomena. In this talk I will review three biological problems in which cell movement plays an important role: (i) acid-mediated cancer cell invasion, (ii) cranial neural crest cell invasion, and (iii) intestinal crypt dynamics.  It will be shown that, at least for simple cases, all these models have the same mathematical form for the cell density, namely a nonlinear partial differential equation where the specific form of nonlinearity in the diffusion term is determined by the hypothesised behaviour of cells at the discrete level.

About the speaker Philip Kumar Maini has been a Professor of Mathematical Biology at the University of Oxford since 1998 and is the head of the Wolfson Centre for Mathematical Biology in the Mathematical Institute. He has published about 400 papers and coauthored several books. He received the LMS Naylor prize in 2009. His work ranges through mathematical modelling of pattern formation, wound healing and cancer growth.