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 broadened its subjects as its members developed their own research agendas. It aims at developing models, simulations, numerical and control 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, multicellular growth, wound healing and liver regeneration, cancer evolution, healthy and tumor growth control by pharmaceuticals, protein polymerization occurring in neurodegenerative disorders, control of dengue epidemics, 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 Sorbonne Université (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, Sorbonne Université, 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; or more recently with Yves Dumont at CIRAD, Montpellier, are key points in our project.

Our main objective is the creation, investigation and transfer of new models, methods (for analysis but also for control) 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 reorganized the presentation of our research program in three main methodological axes. Two main application axes are presented in the next Section. Evolving along their own logic in close interaction with the methodological axes, they are considered as application-driven research axes in themselves. The methodological research axes are the following.

Axis 1 is devoted to work 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 is devoted to reaction equations and motion equations of agents in living systems. It aims at describing biological phenomena such as tumor growth, chemotaxis and wound healing.

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