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Course Title: Msc Mathemical Medicine and Biology
Topic: Surfing the calcium wave
Intracellular calcium is one of the most important cellular messengers. It helps coordinating heartbeats, forming memories in the brain or secreting insulin. It is now well established that calcium can fulfil these diverse functions by tightly controlling its spatio-temporal patterns. These patterns come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from localised elevations in small parts of a cell to travelling waves that engulf an entire cell. Travelling waves can be shaped by a variety of molecular mediators such as calcium pumps and calcium buffers. Crucially, the dysfunction of e.g. calcium pumps has been shown to underlie various neurological, cardiac and skin diseases.
In this project, we will investigate travelling calcium waves both numerically and analytically. Our main focus will be on determining the wave speed and the stability of travelling waves, which is crucial for assessing if calcium waves can fulfil their physiological function.
Thul, Rüdiger, Greg D Smith, and Stephen Coombes. (2008). “A Bidomain Threshold Model of Propagating Calcium Waves.” Journal of Mathematical Biology 56 (4): 435–63.
Thul, Rüdiger. (2014). “Translating Intracellular Calcium Signalling Into Models.” Cold Spring Harbor Protocols 2014 (5)
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