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Helen Byrne


Speaker: Helen Byrne
Title: Seeing the Wood for the Trees with Mathematical Modelling
Affiliation: University of Oxford
Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Place and Time: Room 101, Love Building, 3:35-4:30 pm
Refreshments: Room 204, Love Building, 3:00 pm

Abstract. The eye is a complex organ and, as such, represents a rich source of fascinating problems for applied mathematicians, interested in understanding its anatomy and physiology and how these change during ageing and in disease. In this talk attention will focus on photoreceptors, light-sensing retinal cells whose length fluctuates on a daily basis. I will start by presenting a simple mathematical model that can be used to determine whether the observed fluctuations in healthy photoreceptors may be attributed to changes in oxygen demand during periods of light and dark. I will then focus on retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative disease that targets the photoreceptors and causes progressive loss of visual function. I will present a second mathematical model developed in order to determine whether hyperoxia, exposure to elevated oxygen levels, may be responsible for the patterns of photoreceptor degeneration associated with retinitis pigmentosa. If time permits, I will also explain how simple continuum models may be combined with experimental data on corneal angiogenesis to compare the mechanisms by which different angiogenic factors act.