Namiko Mitarai
Namiko Mitarai

Associate Professor

We use theoretical methods from physics to investigate complex systems and living systems, and in turn use inspirations from those systems to develop new concepts in physics models. We study phenomena in various scales, from intracellular processes, collective behaviors of cells and agents, to species competition in ecological scale, with tools from dynamical systems, stochastic processes, and individual based models.

Mitarai Lab is part of Biocomplexity group, CMoL (Center for Models of Life), and located at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.

Primary fields of research

Bacterial Physiology and Persistence

When an antibiotic is applied to a large population of antibiotic-sensitive bacterial cells, a subpopulation of cells tolerant to the antibiotic almost always appear, which are called persisters. Persisters are different from antibiotic resistant cells, because the progenies of the persisters are still sensitive to the same antibiotic: persisters are caused by phenotypic heterogeneity, that reflects stochasticity in the system.

Phage-Bacteria interaction in space

Phage plaque morphology tells a lot about the phage-bacteria interaction. Through a quantitative modeling with closely related experiments, we reveal how the spatial structures are formed and how the space affects the phage-bacteria interaction. As modeling tools, we use individual based model with mechanical cell-cell interactions as well as reaction-diffusion type models.

Species competition and diversity

We use Lotoka-Volterra equations to stochastic lattice models to address how various types of species competitions affect emergence and coexistence of diversity.

Complex systems and statistical physics

We are interested in various collective phenomena, where rich behaviors emerge from elements or agents interacting with simple rules.
 

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