Mathematical Modelling of Cellular Processes
Head of the Group
Dr. Jana Wolf
31.1: Max Delbrück House (Hochbau)
Complex diseases are often characterised by an accumulation of multiple perturbations in rather large and complex cellular networks. The consequences of these perturbations, such as mutations or over-expression of proteins, can hardly be analysed by pure reasoning. Here, mathematical modelling contributes to a deeper understanding of the regulatory systems and provides thus a better basis for the interpretation of high-throughput data and identification of effective drug targets.
Our group develops and analyses mathematical models of signalling pathways and gene-regulatory networks in normal and disease states. For our investigations we use tools such as simulations, bifurcation analyses and sensitivity analyses. These give insights into the dynamical properties of the systems and help to identify most sensitive processes and critical regulations. Another important aspect is the investigation of cell specific differences in signalling and gene-regulatory networks since these are critically involved in the prediction of the efficiency and possible side-effects of drugs.
Figure: Simplified schemes show the regulation structure in two model versions of the EGF pathway (upper line), and steady state response of the pathway versions towards Ras mutations activating the rate to exchange GTP for GDP varying regulatory strength (lower line), taken from Wolf et al. (2007), The impact of the regulatory design on the response of EGFR-mediated signal transduction towards oncogenic mutations. FEBS Journal 274, 5505.