Section: Research Program


Data and image analysis, statistical, ODEs, PDEs, and agent-based approaches are used either individually or in combination, with a strong focus on PDE analysis and agent-based approaches. Mamba was created in January 2014, as a continuation of the BANG project-team, that had been headed by Benoît Perthame from 2003-2013, and in the last years increasingly broaden its subjects as its individuals develop their own research agendas. It aims at developing models, simulations and numerical algorithms to solve questions from life sciences involving dynamics of phenomena encountered in biological systems such as protein intra-cellular spatio-temporal dynamics, cell motion, early embryonic development, multicelluar growth, wound healing and liver regeneration, cancer evolution, healthy and tumour growth control by pharmaceuticals, protein polymerisation occurring in neurodegenerative disorders, etc.

Another guideline of our project is to remain close to the most recent questions of experimental biology or medicine, to design models and problems under study as well as the related experiments to be carried out by our collaborators in biology or medicine. In this context, our ongoing collaborations with biologists and physicians: the collaboration with St Antoine Hospital in Paris within the Institut Universitaire de Cancérologie of UPMC (IUC, Luis Almeida, Jean Clairambault, Dirk Drasdo, Alexander Lorz, Benoît Perthame); Institut Jacques Monod (Luis Almeida); the INRA team headed by Human Rezaei and Wei-Feng Xue's team in the university of Canterbury through the ERC Starting Grant SKIPPERAD (Marie Doumic); our collaborators within the HTE program (François Delhommeau at St Antoine, Thierry Jaffredo, and Delphine Salort at IBPS, UPMC, Paris; François Vallette at INSERM Nantes); Frédéric Thomas at CREEC, Montpellier; Hôpital Paul Brousse through ANR-IFlow and ANR-iLite; and the close experimental collaborations that emerged through the former associate team QUANTISS (Dirk Drasdo), particularly at the Leibniz Institute for Working Environment and Human Factors in Dortmund, Germany, are key points in our project.

Our main objective is the creation, investigation and transfer of new models, methods and algorithms. In selected cases software development as that of CellSys and TiQuant by D. Drasdo and S. Hoehme is performed. More frequently, the team develops “proof of concept” numerical codes in order to test the adequacy of our models to experimental biology.

Taking advantage of the last 4-year evaluation of MAMBA (September 2017), we have re-organised the presentation of our research program in five main axes, three methodological, and two application-driven axes. In more details, these research axes are the following.

Axis 1 (methodological) is devoted to works in physiologically-based design, analysis and control of population dynamics. It encompasses populations of bacteria, of cancer cells, of neurons, of aggregating proteins, etc. whose dynamics are represented by partial differential equations (PDEs), structured in evolving physiological traits, such as cell age, cell size, time elapsed since last firing (neurons).

Axis 2 (methodological) is devoted to reaction and motion equations for living systems. It aims at describing biological phenomena such as tumour growth, chemotaxis and wound healing.

Axis 3 (methodological) tackles the question of model and parameter identification, combining stochastic and deterministic approaches and inverse problem methods in nonlocal and multi-scale models.

Axis 4 (applicative) focuses on cancer, an application on which almost all team members work, with various approaches. A main focus of the team is to study cancer as a Darwinian evolutionary phenomenon in phenotype-structured cell populations. Optimal control methods take into account the two main pitfalls of clinical cancer therapeutics, namely unwanted toxic side effects in healthy cell populations and drug resistance in cancer cell populations. Other studies concern telomere shortening, and multi-scale models.

Axis 5 (applicative) is devoted to growth, evolution and regeneration in populations and tissues. It involves protein aggregation and fragmentation models for neurodegenerative diseases (prion, Alzheimer), organ modelling, mainly of the liver, its damages induced by toxic molecules, and its regeneration after toxic insult. Newcomers in this applicative field are epidemiological modelling of propagation of insect vector-borne diseases by reaction-diffusion equations and of their optimal control, bacterial growth and wound healing.