Collective dynamics in living systems

Themes: Chemistry, bio- & process technology, Life Science & Health

Basic research

A TRL is a measure to indicate the matureness of a developing technology. When an innovative idea is discovered it is often not directly suitable for application. Usually such novel idea is subjected to further experimentation, testing and prototyping before it can be implemented. The image below shows how to read TRL’s to categorise the innovative ideas.

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From bacteria to people, individuals in a group often interact only with their neighbours. Nonetheless, the group as a whole exhibits complex behaviour that affects the life of the individuals.


We simulate the collective dynamics of the group using local interaction rules only. We then use both global and local measures, such as density and orientation, to quantify the group behaviour.


Applications of our approach and results range from the proper placement of fire exits (already possible) to the design of surfaces to facilitate or inhibit the formation of bacterial biofilms (ongoing research).

Dr. Timon Idema


Ruben van Drongelen MSc