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Center for Models of Life
Niels Bohr Institute
University of Copenhagen
Blegdamsvej 17
2100 Copenhagen

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Center Research

In the Center for Models of Life, we develop physics models that allow us to build a quantitative understanding of computation and communication in biological systems. Networks are common themes in complex systems research, ranging from the regulation of actions in the simplest viruses to ecological and social systems. Our approach is to model regulative networks of living systems, including analysis of the physical mechanism of interactions, the dynamics of information transfer along signaling pathways, as well as modeling slower evolutionary changes in the networks. Our ambition is to quantify life as a dynamic and evolving system composed of networks of interacting parts with a history.

What do we mean by the above terms?

Complex systems

When a system with many interacting components is driven out of equilibrium, it may form a coherent structure with a whole that is much more than the sum of its parts. The coherent structures in such complex systems emerge as the result of a long history and not just from a simple combination of its parts. The interactions in the system are typically associated to storage and exchange of both energy and information. A living cell with its metabolic and signaling network is a complex system. So is the ecosystem of co-evolving life formed on earth.

What is a complex network?

A complex network is a convenient backbone to describe which parts in a complex system that interact with other parts in the system. In our group we explore the dynamics of such interaction-patterns through analysis and modeling of complex systems ranging from molecular, signaling and genetic regulation to models of social dynamics and ecosystem behavior.