BioND — Dynamics of Biological Networks

Research

What have the neurons in our brain in common with roads, internet servers and airline flights? They form complex networks. Networks are everywhere. In particular in biology networks appear on many different scales and in many different contexts, ranging from the pattern of interaction between genes to networks of social contacts that form the backbone of our society; and even further to ecological interactions between species.

The structure and dynamics of complex networks is linked to many central questions of theoretical biology such as the stability of ecosystems, the spreading of diseases and the functioning of our bodies. Insights in the dynamics of biological networks can help us to combat diseases and protect the environment. Moreover, they can reveal important design patterns that lend natural systems their ability to self-organize robustly. Once such patterns have been discovered they may be utilized to construct more robust and flexible technical systems.

Many insights in the dynamics of networks can be gained by studying mathematical models. This is usually done by numerical simulation. However, as a tool to extract relevant information, simulation in fundamentally inefficient. Our group focuses on the developement and application of new powerful theoretical tools for the study of complex biological networks. We collaborate closely with experts from various fields to apply our methods to a wide range of applications. While our approaches are based on fundamental insights in theoretical physics and mathematics, our work is driven by important actual questions from the applied research.

Research Topics

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