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Reading Systems Biology Network - Research

Mathematical Modelling

Mathematical modelling in life science research at Reading is undertaken in a number of areas by Dr Marcus Tindall, Prof Peter Grindrod and Prof Roland Potthast. Work is undertaken with colleagues in the School of Biological Sciences (, Food and Nutritional Sciences (, Psychology, Clinical Language Sciences, the Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (ICMR) and Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (). Representative projects and areas of interest are detailed below.

Cardiovascular health

Lead: Dr Tindall and Prof Grindrod

We are currently developing a model of the GPVI signalling pathway within a platelet. This work is the first steps in developing a more detailed model of platelet regulation in order to provide a theoretical tool for the future development of therapeutic strategies. This work has recently received funding from the British Heart Foundation in the form of a consortia consisting of Prof Jon Gibbins ( and his group, Dr Mike Fry (, Dr Fazil Baksh ( (Mathematics and Statistics), Dr Julie Lovegrove ( (Food and Nutritional Sciences), and colleagues at the Universities of Leicester and Cambridge.

Lipoprotein metabolism

Lead: Dr Tindall

Lipoproteins are the key mechanism by which dietary fats are transported around the body and breakdown by it. Our work here is focused on lipoprotein endocytosis (uptake) by hepatocytes (liver cells) and the delipidation pathway (the breakdown of lipoproteins into their constitute smaller particle types) with colleagues in Food and Nutritional Sciences at Reading, mathematics at Nottingham and Nutrition at East Anglia.We have recently published a detailed mathematical model of the uptake of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) and low density lipoproteins (LDL) and the competition between them for cell surface receptors. Current work includes developing a model of the genetic regulation of cell surface receptors and cholesterol biosynthesis and incorporating this into recently developed models of LDL uptake. We are also exploring the extension of our in vitro models to the in vivo context. The overall aim of our work is to develop well informed models which can be used to make useful predictions in treating metabolic diseases.

Neuroscience and Neurodynamics

Lead: Profs Peter Grindrod & Roland Potthast

Neural activity in the brain is the basis of human thinking, of emotions and actions, of human communication and interaction. Witin the Centre of Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN) an interdisciplinary team of researchers develops mathematical models which have the capability to link high-level mental processes like language understanding and processing with neural activities. In cooperation with partners from linguistics the way humans use and process language is investigated with models on different levels. This includes neural field models, which describe the activity large quantities of neurons by fields in space and time. Within recent grants integrated models for neural activity are under development, which include the physical and chemical processes in the brain as well as the electrical activity which is usually modelled by neural network approaches. The team also develops measurement approaches including the integrated use of MRI, EEG and ODT, where models are explored in field studies on humans. Further work is carried out on living neural cultures, where approaches can be tested in a small-scale well-defined environment.