Recent Progress and Open Frontiers in Turing-Type Morphogenesis

Speaker: Andrew Krause

Date: 2021

Location: UBC, Online

Conference: PIMS Workshop on New Trends in Localized Patterns in PDES

Subject: Mathematics

Class: Scientific


Motivated by recent work with biologists, I will showcase some mathematical results on Turing instabilities in complex domains. This is scientifically related to understanding developmental tuning in a variety of settings such as mouse whiskers, human fingerprints, bat teeth, and more generally pattern formation on multiple scales and evolving domains. Such phenomena are typically modelled using reaction-diffusion systems of morphogens, and one is often interested in emergent spatial and spatiotemporal patterns resulting from instabilities of a homogeneous equilibrium, which have been well-studied. In comparison to the well-known effects of how advection or manifold structure impacts unstable modes in such systems, I will present results on instabilities in heterogeneous systems, as well as those arising in the set-ting of evolving manifolds. These contexts require novel formulations of classical dispersion relations, and may have applications beyond developmental biology, such as in population dynamics (e.g. understanding colony or niche formation of populations in heterogeneous environments). These approaches also help close the vast gap between the simple theory of diffusion-driven pattern formation, and the messy reality of biological development, though there is still much work to be done in validating even complex theories against the rich dynamics observed in nature. I will close by discussing a range of open questions, many of which fall well beyond the extensions I will discuss.