PhD defense by Kristian Moss Bendtsen – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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PhD defense by Kristian Moss Bendtsen

Dynamical processes in ageing, gene regulation and communication

As the title suggests my thesis consists of three parts (ageing phenomena, gene regulation and communication networks)

During my defense I will only cover two topics, namely ageing phenomena and formation of communication networks. 

Each one of our cells is capable of dividing a finite number of times. As time passes we accumulate more and more of these undividing cells. While accumulation of these senescent cells on one hand causes us to age, it is also a defense against uncontrolled cellular growth or cancer. I have investigated this trade-off between ageing and oncogenesis in the context of stem cells, and will show how a simplistic mathematical model can connect otherwise unconnected experiments.  

In the second part of my defense I will cover the emergence of communication networks. As a counterpart to big data research, we have conducted a novel socio-economic experiment where 16 players played a simple e-mail game.

We found that players formed favorite (trusted) communication partners, and despite short-term incentives to behave egoistically, actually were cooperative.

We observed the emergence of a communication network, and found that a much higher than expected information flux between trusted players. Lastly, by assessing multiple mathematical models we were able to show that the underlying trust building mechanism was surprisingly the simplest, namely counting number of helpful interactions.