Michael Holcombe

About Michael Holcombe:

Professor of Computer Science, University of Sheffield. FBCS, FIMA, CEng, C.Math, CITP. I have been involved in the use of computational techniques for modelling biological systems since 1980. More recently I have developed a technique of agent-based modelling based on the framework FLAME which is the only such system that can be run on supercomputers. We have made significant new biological discoveries using this approach: The approach models the location and activity of millions of individual components such as molecules, receptors; cells in tissue, individual insects in ecologies. We are able to represent intricate biological behaviour and the emergence of structure and function in realistic ways.

  1. our model of the NFkappaB system (part of the innate immune system) is probably the most detailed model of this pathway and has led to the prediction of the actinisation of IkappaBalpha - this has been confirmed experimentally
  2. models of epithelial tissue have been built and the role of stem cells in wound healing has been predicted and confirmed experimentally
  3. models of foraging strategies of ant communities - Monomorium pharoensis - has uncovered the geometric structure of pheromone trails and why this is 4 .In SUMO we are modelling the oxygen system in E. coli by representing every relevant molecule and its location within a single cell and studying the interplay between the transcription factors and genes and how these interact within a complex control system. All of the parameters are besed on experimental data from the SUMO consortium. We have predicted the possible existence of a new transcription factor and its properties - other than Fnr and ArcA - and this is being investigated experimentally.
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SUMO (University of Sheffield)

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