Multiscale Integration and Heuristics of Complex Physiological Phenomena

Bradly Alicea
Cellular Reprogramming Laboratory
Orthogonal Research
Michigan State University
Presented in the Embryo Physics Course, March 27, 2013


How do you define a complex organism and its behavior? This question was discussed during the HTDE 2012 workshop, during which a range of “hard-to-define” events and ways to define, model, and analyze them were explored. In this talk (a revisiting of talk given at HTDE 2012), I will address how complexity at multiple scales can be understood and perhaps even measured in a way that brings to bear novel approaches and perhaps a new understanding of this complexity.

Understanding physiological and other biological systems as complex multiscale phenomena has applications to the study of physiological hierarchies, leaderless collective behaviors, and emergent biological processes with multiple scales. This lecture will feature examples from neurobehavioral systems, brain-machine interfaces, functional physiology, social complexity, and embryogenesis. Taken collectively, they illustrate the challenges and opportunities for a multiscale approach.

We will also explore current and potential methods for modeling and representing multiscale systems, including: hybrid models, scale linking, homogenization and extremes, trophic models, and multiscale decision-making. Particularly, we will focus on the emergence of biological scale, which leads us to a new set of principles (trophic organization and open-ended, first-mover evolution) for the self-organization of biological hierarchies in development and evolution.



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