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Anne Catlla : Mean, Lean ODE-fighting Machine

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Our brains are composed of networks of cells, including neurons and glial cells. While the significance of neurons has been established by biologists, the role of glial cells is less understood. One hypothesis is that glial cells facilitate neural communication in nearby neurons, while suppressing communication among more distant neurons via a reaction-diffusion process. I consider this proposed mechanism using partial and ordinary differential equation models. By analyzing the ordinary differential equation model, I can determine conditions for this hypothesis to hold. I then compare the results of this analysis with simulations of the partial differential equation model and discuss the biological implications.

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