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CIMPA Summer Research School in "Mathematical modeling in Biology and Medicine"

Santiago de Cuba, 8-17 June, 2016


Scientific Topics: Mathematical modeling and computer simulation tools have been growing enormously in the fields of mathematics and physics applied to biophysics, biology, biochemistry and bioengineering. The reasons for this large attention of the mathematical community are multi-faceted. Among them, the mathematical modeling in biology and medicine is one of the most important challenges of mathematics applied to scientific problems. It has been shown to be a substantial tool for the investigation of complex biophysical phenomena, such as cancer. Tumor growth continues and will continue to challenge oncologists. The pace of progress has often been slow, in part because of the time required to evaluate new therapies. To reduce the time to approval, new paradigms for assessing therapeutic efficacy are needed. This requires the intellectual energy of scientists working in the field of mathematics and physics, collaborating closely with biologists and clinicians. This essentially means that the heuristic experimental approach, which is the traditional investigative method in the biological sciences, should be complemented by a mathematical modeling approach. This school is addressed for researchers, doctoral students, students of Master’s degree level and talented undergraduate students to acquire a basic training in that field. This school will cover a wide class of mathematical models and applications in issues related to tumor growth, population dynamics, pattern formation and their implications in developmental cancer biology. The school will constitute a very interesting thematic opening for the young researchers. It will also be a tremendous tool of exchange between world-wide researchers and Cuban/Caribbean researchers in applied mathematics, theoretical biology and medicine.

Main Speakers & Courses: Courses will be taught in English. Notes for the Courses will be made available through this web page. Group Picture 1, Group Picture 2.

  1. Tomás Alarcón, CRM, Barcelona, Spain. Web page.
    : Stochastic and hybrid multiscale modeling of tumor growth: File1, File2, File3.
    Abstract: Multiscale modeling refers to a set of numerical and analytical, often asymptotic, techniques that attempt to address the intrinsic complexity in biological tissues arising from the hierarchy of coupled processes, characterized by a diversity of time and length scales, from which their global behavior emerges. In solid tumor growth, intracellular processes, such as cell cycle progression, are coupled to large-scale tissue remodeling phenomena, as for example angiogenesis. Developing multiscale models and techniques that allow us to understand global properties of tumor growth arising from such coupling is one of the most challenging issues to be addressed by mathematical biologists and applied mathematicians. In these lectures, I will address the issues involved in formulating such models and their numerical simulation. In particular, I will go through recent developments in the field of stochastic and hybrid multiscale modeling.

  2. Dumitru Trucu, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK. Web page.
    Title: Multiscale mathematical modeling of cancer growth and spread: File.
    Abstract: Most processes in biology and medicine occur over different but inter-connected spatial and temporal scales - from genes to cells to tissues to organs to populations. Known as one of the "hallmarks of cancer", cancer invasion is a complex multi-scale phenomenon involving many inter-related genetic, biochemical, and cellular processes at many different spatial and temporal scales that play a crucial role in the overall cancer development. A key part in invasion is played by the various classes of matrix-degrading enzymes, secreted by the cancer cells, which degrade the surrounding tissue, enabling this way further tumour progression. Combining abnormal proliferation with favourable migratory conditions enabled by altered cell adhesion characteristics, the cancer cells actively spread locally into the surrounding tissue. These challenging multiscale phenomena lead naturally to a question concerning the establishment of an appropriate framework that would enable a rigorous analysis and modelling of cancer invasion. In this series of lectures we will present a series of novel modelling and analysis approaches for cancer invasion that will focus four major directions, namely: (1) tissue-scale cell adhesion modelling; (2) a new spatio-temporal-structural modelling of cell population dynamics incorporating membrane reactions; (3) a new multiscale moving boundary modelling framework for tumour invasion; and (4) a multiscale analysis platform, based on our new concept of "three-scale convergence". Finally, we will present computational simulations in each of these modelling directions and discuss a number of important fundamental properties that follows.

  3. Jean Clairambault, INRIA, France. Web Page.
    Title: Some cell population dynamics models for cancer biology and anticancer therapeutic optimization: File1, File2, File3, File4.
    Abstract: Elements of biological background for cancer biology and therapeutics. Quick survey of various cancer growth models in different settings: unstructured populations (ODEs), agent-based models, biomechanics, interacting populations, physiologically structured populations, multi-scale models. Focus on simple ODE models for cancer growth amenable to design theoretically optimized therapies under various constraints, static or dynamic. PDE models: age-structured models of the cell division cycle in proliferating cell populations with built-in physiological and therapeutic control; analysis and optimization of therapeutic control. Integro-differential models for phenotype-structured populations; representation of reversible / irreversible drug resistance in cancer; analysis and optimized control strategies to circumvent resistance.

  4. Kalet León: Centro de Inmunología Molecular (CIM), La Habana, Cuba.
    : Mathematical models of immune system regulation and cancer therapy: File.
    Abstract: I will review the current status of mathematical models on immune system interaction with malignant tumors. I will illustrate with specific examples, the kind of models that are developed and their capacity to predict and impact on therapy design. I will show the most recent results of my own group in Havana, Cuba.

  5. Nicolas Vauchelet, Université Paris VI, France. Web Page.
    Title: Derivation of Free Boundaries for Tumor Growth: File1, File2.
    Abstract: When used for biology and medicine, PDEs have to be used with care. Even though some are very classical, as front propagation for invading species, they are always questioned by comparison to observations or experiments. This course aims at showing some examples of free boundary problems motivated by biology and medicine, to concentrate on weak solutions, and to discuss their limitations and the need for further development.

  6. Rolando Placeres, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Brazil.
    Title: An introduction to Mathematical Biomedicine: File1, File2, File3.
    Abstract: Mathematical biomedicine is an interdisciplinary field of research in which are combined methods of natural and exact sciences in an attempt to respond to the modeling and simulation challenges raised by biology and medicine. The course is an introduction to the principles and practice of mathematical modeling in the biological sciences, concentrating on applications in population biology and medicine, with emphasis in cancer modeling. The main theoretical tools covered ranging from discrete population models to cell population based models described by ordinary differential equations to nonlinear partial differential equations. The emphasis throughout is on describing the mathematical results and showing students how to apply them to biological and medicine problems while highlighting some modeling strategies.

  7. Luigi Preziosi, Politecnico di Torino, Italy. Web Page
    Title: Multiscale modeling of cell migration in fiber networks: File.
    Abstract: Cell migration in highly constrained extracellular matrices is exploited in scaffold-based tissue engineering and is fundamental in a wide variety of physiological and pathological phenomena, among other in cancer invasion and development. Research into the critical processes involved in cell migration has mainly focused on cell adhesion and proteolytic degradation of the external environment. However, arising evidence have recently shown that a number of cell-derived biophysical and mechanical parameters, among others nucleus stiffness and cell deformability, plays a major role in cell motility, especially in the ameboid-like migration mode in 3D confined tissue structures. The lectures will present several modelling framework, from individual-based to continuum models, to simulare the active invasive behavior of cancer cells into narrow channels and fiber networks. Multiscale methods to upscale information from the sub-cellular level to the macroscopic level will also be explained in detail.

Lecture Speakers:
Ricardo Abreu Blaya (Universidad de Holguin, Cuba) File
Juan Bory Reyes (ESIME-ZAC-IPN, Mexico). File
Thibault Bourgeron (ENS-Lyon, France). File
María J. Cáceres (Granada University, Spain). File
Lucilla Corrias (Université d’Evry, France). File
Silvia Cuadrado (UAB, Spain). File
Raluca Eftimie (Dundee University, UK). File
Adolfo Fernández García (Oriente University, Cuba).
Amic Frouvelle (Paris-Dauphine, France). File
Karina García (CIM, La Habana, Cuba). File1, File2.
Pilar Guerrero (UCL, UK). File
Jan Haskovec (KAUST, Saudi Arabia). File
Pierre-Emanuel Jabin (University of Maryland, USA). File
Otared Kavian (Université de Versailles, France). File
Sara Merino (Imperial College London, UK). File
Stéphane Mischler (Université Paris-Dauphine, France). File
Óscar Sánchez (Granada University, Spain). File
Stephanie Reichelt (Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, UK).
Mariano Rodríguez-Ricard (Havana University, Cuba).
Carola Schoenlieb (University of Cambridge, UK). File
Bernt Wennberg (Chalmers, Sweden). File

A tentative Schedule of the school can be downloaded here.

REGISTRATION opened for non-cuban participants.
Deadline: 28th February 2016.

Luis Bergues Cabrales, National Center of Applied Electromagnetism, Cuba
José Antonio Carrillo, Imperial College London, UK, and UAB, Spain.

Scientific Committee:
María José Cáceres, University of Granada, Spain.
Lucilla Corrias, Université d’Evry, France.
Stéphane Mischler, Université Paris-Dauphine, France.
Óscar Sánchez, University of Granada, Spain.
Juan Soler, University of Granada, Spain.

Organizing Committee:
Luis Bergues Cabrales, National Center of Electromagnetisms Applied, Cuba.
Juan Bory Reyes, ESIME-ZAC, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Mexico.
Héctor Manuel Camué Ciria, Researcher of National Center of Electromagnetisms Applied, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
José Antonio Carrillo, Imperial College London, UK, and UAB, Spain.
Adolfo Fernández García, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
Maraelys Morales González, University of Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
Margarita Velázquez Barriel, University of Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.

Practical Information:

  • Touristic Information about Santiago de Cuba.
  • Conference Centre: Rectorado de la Universidad de Oriente. You can find here the map to go from the hotel to the conference centre.
  • Accomodation for Participants: Hotel Las Américas 3*. A map to arrive at the hotel from the airport or from the bus station. The hotel reservation will be arranged by the organizers for all the students and the speakers that desire it.
  • Travel Agency: All services regarding hotel reservations different from the Hotel Las Américas, transfers hotel/airport, flights inside Cuba and touristic packages can be done through CUBANACAN. They will offer negotiated prices for the participants at the school. The contacts are Lic. Debora Bell (Tel: 53-22-642202; 53-22-643445, e-mail: and Yetsy Lezcano (Tel: 53-22-642202, e-mail:
  • Airlines arriving to Santiago de Cuba: Cubana de Aviación arrives to Santiago from Madrid (Tuesdays), Rome (Thursdays) and Paris (Sundays). There are charter companies like Blue Panorama that offer travels to Santiago de Cuba. There are plenty of options to fly to Havana and then connect there with Cubana de Aviación. There are charter flights from London Gatwick to Holguin by Condor, then you have to travel by bus to Santiago de Cuba.
  • Visa: All participants can visit Cuba with touristic visas. However, it is very important that once you received the acceptance or you fix your travel details, you send to Luis Bergues ( the following filled form. If you arrive with touristic visa without giving this information, you will have some delay in inmigration and you will need to pay 40 CUC to change the type of visa.

The Full list of Sponsors is:

  1. International Centre for Pure and Applied Mathematics (CIMPA), France.
  2. University of Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
  3. International Mathematical Union-Committee of Developing Countries (IMU-CDC).
  4. Foundation Compositio Mathematica, Netherlands.
  5. University of Évry Val d'Essonne, France.
  6. Agènce National de la Recherche (ANR), France.
  7. Imperial College London, United Kingdom.
  8. Universidad de Granada, Spain.
  9. Center of Medical Biophysics (CBM), University of Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
  10. Center of Molecular Immunology (CIM), La Habana, Cuba.
  11. DATYS, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
  12. National Center of Applied Electromagnetism (CNEA), University of Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
  13. National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico city, Mexico.
  14. Emmanuel Trovar, Proessa, Mexico.
  15. Red Española de Institutos de Matemáticas.