PhD Thesis: Spatial models and networks of living systems

PhD thesis front page

When studying the dynamics of living systems, insight can often be gained by deriving a mathematical model that can predict future behaviour of the system or help classify the system characteristics. However, in living cells, organisms, and especially groups of interacting individuals, a large number of different factors influence the time development of the system. This often makes it challenging to construct a mathematical model from which one can draw conclusions.

One traditional way of capturing the dynamics in a mathematical model is to formulate a set of coupled differential equations for the essential variables of the system. However, this approach disregards any spatial structure of the system, which may potentially change the behaviour drastically. An alternative approach is to construct a cellular automaton with nearest neighbour interactions, or even to model the system as a complex network with interactions defined by network topology.

The main part of the thesis is based on six different articles, which I have co-authored during my three year PhD at the Center for Models of Life. Apart from these, I have co-authored another six articles, which also relate to spatial models of living systems. These are included as appendixes, but not described in detail in the thesis.

The thesis can be downloaded here.