Abstract: Multi-scale mathematical and computational modeling has emerged as a key technology in many areas of engineering, manufacturing, and business. It also holds great promise for biomedicine, with a wide range of potential applications. For instance, well-validated mathematical models could help limit the use of animal experiments for drug discovery or develop better-optimized treatment protocols for patients. Unique challenges arise in this context, however, such as the existence of feedback loops between scales, e.g., the bidirectional interplay between processes at the organism and intracellular levels, or the lack of knowledge about physical or biochemical principles underlying disease mechanisms. In particular, this raises challenging mathematical problems, such as analysis and validation of the dynamics of complex hybrid models. It also complicates the application of optimal control techniques, which is of particular importance, since most problems in biomedicine ultimately are about control. These issues will be illustrated through two ongoing case studies, metabolic drivers of tumor growth and the immune response to respiratory fungal infections.
Dr. Laubenbacher joined the University of Connecticut Health Center in May 2013 as Professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Co-Director of the Center for Quantitative Medicine. Prior to this appointment, he served as a Professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and a Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Virginia Tech since 2001. He was also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem (NC) and Affiliate Faculty in the Virginia Tech Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. In addition, Dr. Laubenbacher was also Professor of Mathematics at New Mexico State University. He has served as Visiting Faculty at Los Alamos National Laboratories, was a member of the Mathematical Science Research Institute at Berkeley in 1998, and was a Visiting Associate Professor at Cornell University in 1990 and 1993. Current interests in Dr. Laubenbacher’s research group include the development of mathematical algorithms and their application to problems in systems biology, in particular the modeling and simulation of molecular networks. An application area of particular interest is cancer systems biology, especially the role of iron metabolism in breast cancer.