Lecture Title: Disease, dynamics and development: Modelling spatiotemporal patterns in biological and demographic systems
Dynamical patterns such as spiral waves or target waves occur in a wide variety of natural systems spanning across a range of length scales: From intracellular calcium waves to waves of infection spreading over thousands of kilometers. These patterns also occur in physiological systems such as the heart, uterine myometrium, gastro-intestinal complex and cerebral cortex and are often observed in the context of deviations from the natural rhythm of the organ (arrhythmia). Most prominently, they are implicated in the disturbances to the normal pumping rate in the heart, resulting in cardiac disease, one of the leading causes of death in both the industrialized and developing world. For these reasons, arrhythmias are the subject of intense research.
Increased availability of experimental data and vastly improved computational power (high performance computation) have enormously facilitated the building of realistic models of these physiological systems, especially the heart.
Modelling approaches are most useful in scenarios where they can complement experiments, such as in the investigation of complex spatial patterns of electrical
activity that occur in the bulk of the heart during instances of cardiac arrhythmia. Further, models also have applications in drug-testing, prediction and therapeutic
interventions in the context of life-threatening arrhythmia.
In this talk, I will outline the mathematics of excitable media which is used to model the dynamics in these systems. I will briefly discuss the tools of high-performance computation that are used typically for these systems. I will then describe a few results pertinent to the genesis, detection and control of arrhythmia in the context of heart. Finally, I will conclude with a brief discussion on modelling a different kind of pattern, viz, patterns of urban growth and demographic change.
Speaker: Dr S Sridhar
S. Sridhar obtained his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from the University of Madras in 2011. His doctoral research carried out at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, involved investigating the nonlinear dynamics of patterns in biological systems and developing control schemes for spatially extended chaos having potential medical applications.
After doing a PostDoc in the Chemistry Department at Brandeis University (USA), he joined Scimergent (Data Analytics company based in Chennai) as postdoctoral scientist in 2013 to work on an data-driven approach to study patterns of urbanization and economic networks in India. During 2015-2016, he worked as a Pegasus Marie-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Physics, Ghent University (Belgium).
His research interests include, modelling cardiac arrhythmia, pattern formation in biological and chemical systems, and spatiotemporal patterns of development and urbanization in India. He has also co-authored a book on genesis and control of patterns in excitable media and is currently editing a Research Topic on “Simulating Normal and Arrhythmic Dynamics: From Sub-Cellular to Tissue and Organ Level” for Frontiers journal.