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Title: Modelling angiogenesis : a discrete to continuum approach
Author: Pillay, Samara
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 9603
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels develop from existing vessels. Angiogenesis is important in a number of conditions such as embryogenesis, wound healing and cancer. It has been modelled phenomenologically at the macroscale, using the well-known 'snail-trail' approach in which trailing endothelial cells follow the paths of other, leading endothelial cells. In this thesis, we systematically determine the collective behaviour of endothelial cells from their behaviour at the cell-level during corneal angiogenesis. We formulate an agent-based model, based on the snail-trail process, to describe the behaviour of individual cells. We incorporate cell motility through biased random walks, and include processes which produce (branching) and annihilate (anastomosis) cells to represent sprout and loop formation. We use the transition probabilities associated with the discrete model and a mean-field approximation to systematically derive a system of non-linear partial differential equations (PDEs) of population behaviour that impose physically realistic density restrictions, and are structurally different from existing snail-trail models. We use this framework to evaluate the validity of a classical snail-trail model and elucidate implicit assumptions. We then extend our framework to explicitly account for cell volume. This generates non-linear PDE models which vary in complexity depending on the extent of volume exclusion incorporated on the microscale. By comparing discrete and continuum models, we assess the extent to which continuum models, including the classical snail-trail model, account for single and multi-species exclusion processes. We also distinguish macroscale exclusion effects introduced by each cell species. Finally, we compare the predictive power of different continuum models. In summary, we develop a microscale to macroscale framework for angiogenesis based on the snail-trail process, which provides a systematic way of deriving population behaviour from individual cell behaviour and can be extended to account for more realistic and/or detailed cell interactions.
Supervisor: Byrne, Helen ; Maini, Philip ; Gaffney, Eamonn Sponsor: Schlumberger Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Applied Mathematics ; Angiogenesis ; Mathematical Modelling ; Cellular Automata ; Chemotaxis ; Partial Differential Equations ; Multiscale Modelling ; Volume Exclusion