Biochemical Oscillations and Cellular Rhythms

Unit of Theoretical Chronobiology

Faculté des Sciences
Université Libre de Bruxelles
1050 Brussels, Belgium

La Vie Oscillatoire

General introduction

Temporal organization is a characteristic feature of all living systems. In the Unit of Theoretical Chronobiology, we focus on the molecular mechanisms responsible for oscillatory phenomena (biological rhythms).

Rhythmic phenomena can be observed at all levels of biological organization, with periods ranging from 10-3 s to years. The molecular mechanisms responsible for these periodic processes generally involve various complex feedbacks and threshold phenomena which often defy an intuitive approach. In the Unit of Theoretical Chronobiology, we use mathematical models to elucidate the molecular bases of these rhythms. This theoretical approach, which is closely based on experimental data, contributes to a thorough understanding of the oscillatory phenomenon. Moreover, theoretical models lead to predictions which can in turn be tested experimentally.

We also focus on other nonlinear phenomena related to oscillations that can be observed in biology, such as bursting, chaos, excitability (the ability of a system to amplify a suprathreshold perturbation), bistability (the coexistence between two stable steady states), and the spatial propagation of biochemical waves.

Financial support : ARC project 'Nutrition and circadian rhythms in plants'; Crédit de recherche FNRS 'Calcium dynamics in silico'.

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