Entrance hall of the ICMS Workshop

Collective dynamics and self-organization in biological sciences

Apr 30, 2018 - May 04, 2018

ICMS, 15 South College Street


Name Institution
Baker, Ruth University of Oxford
Degond, Pierre Imperial College London
Eftimie, Raluca University of Dundee
Jabin, Pierre-Emmanuel University of Maryland
Merino-Aceituno, Sara Imperial College London

Self-organization is pervasive in biology as living organisms are by essence systems that have self-assembled and self-organized in the course of their development. Self-organization refers to the ability of systems made of a large number of independent agents interacting through rather simple and local rules to generate large scale spatio-temporal coherent structures with typical dimensions orders of magnitude larger than those associated with each individual agent.

By bringing together mathematicians and biologists, this will workshop will provide a broad overview of the various self-organization mechanisms that prevail at the various scales and the mathematical models by which they can be described or even explained. Through this interaction between experts from different disciplines, the workshop aims to make progress towards determination of the key biological mechanisms that enable self-organisation at each scale and across the scales, and towards the derivation of suitable `universal' mathematical models able to describe them across the scales.

The value of this workshop is twofold. For the biologists, it will reinforce their link with mathematicians and, by this strengthened relationship, will enlarge the range of models that they can use to probe observed biological complexity. For the mathematicians, it will broaden the repertoire of case studies with which to confront their methodologies and practice. It will suggest new systems where models are still preliminary if no existent and which may require the development of new mathematical frameworks. For the two communities, it will offer the opportunity of building trans-disciplinary teams that can easily share knowledge, models and data and apply to major research councils in UK and in Europe for large grant funding.

Topics to be covered at the workshop will include:

  • collective dynamics from the cell-scale to the population-scale (collective cell migration, flocking, etc)

  • spatio-temporal pattern formation and self-organization (cell sorting, developmental biology, tumour growth epithelial-mesenchymal transition)

  • emergent networks (vascularization, tumor angiogenesis, neural system, plant root formation, leaf venation, social insect nest structures, ant trails)

  • pattern formation in gene expression regulation, control of stochasticity, cell-fate decision-making (e.g. in the maturation of immunity cells)

  • mechanical regulation of collective dynamics (role of the congestion constraint, packing and jamming,cluster formation), particularly in cases coming from developmental biology and flocking behavior

  • data analysis and model calibration and data-model coupling.


Invited speakers and participants were sent an ICMS email invitation in late November. It is anticipated that there will be a limited number of additional workshop spaces open for public application. The application form will be added to the website in the New Year.  


to be announced



Name Institution
Alasio, Luca University of Oxford
Baker, Ruth University of Oxford
Boudaoud, Arezki École Normale Supérieure de Lyon
Carrillo, José Antonio Imperial College London
D'Orsogna, Maria Rita CSUN
Degond, Pierre Imperial College London
Jabin, Pierre-Emmanuel University of Maryland
Ralph, Tertius University of Auckland
Rost, Gergely
Schmeiser, Christian University of Vienna
Zatorska, Ewelina University College London