03:30 PM - 05:00 PM
Energy Systems Engineering at the Cellular Level and Implications in Disease
Living organisms must manage their energy production in order to match expenditure in a timely manner. For example, a single muscle contraction generally involves a multiple fold increase in energy demand over a very short time. Thus, energy production has to be tightly coupled with consumption and the biological organisms achieve this in ways that are surprisingly similar to human made systems. Moreover, cellular energy regulation is affected in many human diseases, including cancer and neurodegeneration. However this problematic is rarely looked upon from the systems engineering viewpoint. We will thus provide examples where a better understanding of cellular energy systems offers new approaches for treatment.
More specifically, in this tutorial we will first explore how energy systems in living organisms can be represented in the form of Ordinary Differential Equations (ODE) models and then use these models to delineate the underlying energy regulation structures. Interestingly, it is possible to decompose each energy regulating mechanism into a corresponding control structure. From this representation of cellular energy systems, we will then highlight a few examples of how it can be linked to diseases such as cancer and Parkinson's. Through these examples, we will emphasize how the tools of systems engineering, mathematical modelling and optimization can and should be used to complement the empirical approaches in medicine.