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Jake Taylor-King : Generalized Jump Processes and Osteocyte Network Formation



My talk will have two parts. PART I, From Birds to Bacteria: Generalised Velocity Jump Processes. There are various cases of animal movement where behaviour broadly switches between two modes of operation, corresponding to a long distance movement state and a resting or local movement state. In this talk, I will give a mathematical description of this process, adapted from Friedrich et. al. (2006). The approach allows the specification any running or waiting time distribution along with any angular and speed distributions. The resulting system of partial integro-differential equations are tumultuous and therefore it is necessary to both simplify and derive summary statistics. We derive an expression for the mean squared displacement, which shows good agreement with experimental data from the bacterium Escherichia coli and the gull Larus fuscus. Finally a large time diffusive approximation is considered via a Cattaneo approximation (Hillen, 2004). This leads to the novel result that the effective diffusion constant is dependent on the mean and variance of the running time distribution but only on the mean of the waiting time distribution. We also consider the Levy regime where the variance of the running distribution tends to infinity. This leads to a fractional diffusion equation for superdiffusive Levy walks and can be solved analytically. Our theory opens up new perspectives both for the systematic derivation of such equations, and for experimental data analysis of intermittent motion. I will also briefly discuss recent developments (by other researchers) within the field of velocity jump processes. PART II: Modelling Osteocyte Network Formation: Healthy and Cancerous Environments. Advanced prostate, breast, and lung cancer can metastasize to bone. In pathological bone, the highly regulated bone remodeling signaling pathway is disrupted. Within bone dendritic osteocytes form a spatial network allowing communication between osteocytes and the osteoblasts located on the bone surface. This communication network facilitates coordinated bone formation. In the presence of a cancerous microenvironment, the morphology of this network changes. Commonly osteocytes appear to be either overdifferentiated (i.e., there are more dendrites) or underdeveloped (i.e., dendrites do not fully form). In addition to structural changes, preliminary studies measuring the number of osteocytes per unit area using pathology slides show that the number density of osteocytes change from healthy to metastatic prostate and breast cancer xenografted mice. We present a stochastic agent-based model for bone formation incorporating osteoblasts and osteocytes that allows us to probe both network structure and number density of osteocytes in bone. Our model both allows for the simulation of our spatial network model and analysis of mean-field equations in the form of integro-partial differential equations. We consider variations of our model to test specific physiological hypotheses related to osteoblast differentiation; for example we can predict how changing measurable biological parameters, such as rates of bone secretion, rates of dendrite growth and rates of osteoblast differentiation can allow for qualitatively different network morphologies, and vice versa. We thenuse our model to hypothesize reasons for the limited efficacy of zoledronate therapy on metastatic breast cancer.

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