Section: Research Program

Methodological axis 3: Model and parameter identification combining stochastic and deterministic approaches in nonlocal and multi-scale models


Marie Doumic, Dirk Drasdo.

Project-team positioning

Mamba developed and addressed model and parameter identification methods and strategies in a number of mathematical and computational model applications including growth and fragmentation processes emerging in bacterial growth and protein misfolding, in liver regeneration [103], TRAIL treatment of HeLa cells [74], growth of multicellular spheroids [115], blood detoxification after drug-induced liver damage [149], [107].

This naturally led to increasingly combine methods from various fields: image analysis, statistics, probability, numerical analysis, PDEs, ODEs, agent-based modeling methods, involving inverse methods as well as direct model and model parameter identification in biological and biomedical applications. Model types comprise agent-based simulations for which Mamba is among the leading international groups, and Pharmocokinetic (PK) simulations that have recently combined in integrated models (PhD theses Géraldine Cellière, Noémie Boissier). The challenges related with the methodological variability has led to very fruitful collaborations with internationally renowned specialists of these fields, e.g. for bacterial growth and protein misfolding with Marc Hoffmann (Paris Dauphine) and Patricia Reynaud-Bouret (University of Nice) in statistics, with Tom Banks (Raleigh, USA) and Philippe Moireau (Inria M3DISIM) in inverse problems and data assimilation, and with numerous experimentalists.

Scientific achievements

Direct parameter identification is a great challenge particularly in living systems in which part of parameters at a certain level are under control of processes at smaller scales.

Estimation methods for growing and dividing populations

In this domain, all originated in two papers in collaboration with J.P. Zubelli in 2007  [143], [101], whose central idea was to used the asymptotic steady distribution of the individuals to estimate the division rate. A series of papers improved and extended these first results while keeping the deterministic viewpoint, lastly  [78]. The last developments now tackle the still more involved problem of estimating not only the division rate but also the fragmentation kernel (i.e., how the sizes of the offspring are related to the size of the dividing individual)  [97]. In parallel, in a long-run collaboration with statisticians, we studied the Piecewise Deterministic Markov Process (PDMP) underlying the equation, and estimated the division rate directly on sample observations of the process, thus making a bridge between the PDE and the PDMP approach in  [100], a work which inspired also very recently other groups in statistics and probability  [75], [112] and was the basis for Adélaïde Olivier's Ph.D thesis  [132], [114] and of some of her more recent works  [133][46] (see also axis 5).

Data assimilation and stochastic modeling for protein aggregation

Estimating reaction rates and size distributions of protein polymers is an important step for understanding the mechanisms of protein misfolding and aggregation (see also axis 5). In  [63], we settled a framework problem when the experimental measurements consist in the time-dynamics of a moment of the population.

To model the intrinsic variability among experimental curves in aggregation kinetics - an important and poorly understood phenomenon - Sarah Eugène's Ph.D, co-supervised by P. Robert  [105], was devoted to the stochastic modeling and analysis of protein aggregation, compared both with the deterministic approach traditionally developed in Mamba  [147] and with experiments.


  • Marc Hoffmann, Université Paris-Dauphine, for the statistical approach to growth and division processes  [100], M. Escobedo, Bilbao and M. Tournus, Marseille, for the deterministic approach.

  • Philippe Moireau, Inria M3DISIM, for the inverse problem and data assimilation aspects  [69], [62]