Research – University of Copenhagen

Uni-Bio Lab > Research

Life is a collection of processes on many different scales: milliseconds to centuries, nanometers to kilometers. As our capacity for information processing is finite we naturally zoom in and out between these scales to build a mental model of the world:

We pick up a few key elements and coarse-grain the details. In our group we use a similar approach of a coarse-grained modeling to capture complex biological phenomena. While the main focus of our research is on common logic behind the regulatory networks of stress response systems, we are gradually expanding into the field of stem cell differentiation (in collaboration with our colleagues at StemPhys).

We find that the models at a right level of description reveal similarities across systems and organisms. These show up when we study:

  • How receptor adaptation is encoded by networks that contain at least one of the two core circtuits
  • How excitable dynamics can explain how the same proteins can encode opposing cell fates: life-death decisions and p53 dynamics in single cells; acute vs. chronic inflammation and IL-1/TNF/NF-kB dynamics in cell populations.
  • How asymmetric damage segregation is a population strategy to rapidly adapt to stresses
  • How right proportions are maintained during embryonic stem cell and pancreas differentiation
  • How cellular polarities play together to form complex shapes (tubes and folds) in organs and organisms.  

Stem cell differentiation
How do cells communicate and coordinate their fates to arrive at right proportions of differentiated cell types? 


Stress responses
What mechanisms did cells and organisms evolve to deal with the insults that perturb their normal function (stresses)? 


Complex systems
We use agent based modeling to capture the possible mechanisms of species coexistence, epidemics and concurrent immunity... 

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