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When Mathematics serve healthcare and the environment

Essential for the synergy between applied mathematics and ecology for the last 10 years, the Chaire « Modélisation mathématique et biodiversité » recently opens up to the modeling of bacterial growth and eco-evolution, to the evolution of cancer cells and to the impact of mankind in ecology dynamics.

Studying Retroactions between society and biodiversity, analysing the evolution of small bacteria population and a phylogenetic approah of cancer: these are the new themes handled by the Chair « Modélisation mathématique et biodiversité ». thanks to its international influence at the intersection between applied mathematics and biology, the Chair keeps leading scientific research in this unique environment.

Renewable resources: a scale issue
At the heart of ecological issues of the Chair, a thesis recently begun to study the balance between society and renewable resources. Led by T. France (X2013) and supervised by Denis Couvet (Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle), this thesis modelises the different possible evolutions of renewable resources in contact with human influence. The study concludes that while a balance can be reached, it is hindered by several factors such as a too big human population or a too slow resource production rhythm.

Growth and metabolism: from cell to population
Microfluidy, a new technique that allows to study a single bacteria, in conjunction with stochastic processes (random events temporal dynamics) that are closely studied by the Chair’s mathematicians, allow to modelise a whole array of population evolution. Thus, it is possible to observe and modelise the growth of a population stemming from a signe bacteria (collaboration of Vincent Bansaye, CMAP and Charles Baroud, Ladhyx et Institut Pasteur) or to modelise bacteira metabolism when in contact to different sugars (thesis of Josué Tchouanti, CMAP collaborating with Sylvie Méléard and INSA Toulouse).

Fighting against resistances: cancer and antibiotics

Resistances are understood through a better analysis of evolution mechnaisms and of mutation fixation. Hence, Nicolas Champagnat’s work (INRIA, Nancy) aims to modelise kinship between tumoral cells by monitoring population evolutions. This way, one could understand treatment resistances in cancer cells families, allowing an unrivalled healthcare following. In his thesis, Ignacio Madrid Canales (X2015), supervised by Meriem El Karoui (BIOC and University of Edinburgh) and Sylvie Méléard (CMAP), modelises cellular growth, quiescence aptitude and DNA repairing processes when confronted with antibiotic stress in order to better understand the emergence of resistances.

Thanks to other projects such as leukemia modelling or disease transmission during an epidemy modelling, the Chair still has many research topics to explore.

About the Chair:
Since 2009, the Chair « Modélisation mathématique et biodiversité » reunites these two disciplines to position itself at the heart of environmental issues. Stemming from a partnership between the École polytechnique and the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, the Chair is supported by Veolia and the Fondation de l’X and held by Sylvie Méléard. The Chair’s research aims to better understand and model today’s and tomorrow’s ecosystems, in particular by developping new probabilistic evolution models or new biodiversity scenario builders.
Holder : Sylvie Méléard, professor at the Centre de mathématiques appliquées (CMAP – joint research unit CNRS – École polytechnique) at the École polytechnique of the Institut Polytechnique de Paris