Summary of STEMN
Whilst it is essential to understand aspects of cells that are common within organisms and across species it is the spatiotemporal differences between cells that arise during development and responses to the environment that are of particular importance to higher organisms. What distinguishes man from the ape is the integrated system, likewise it is the differences between cell types and their integration that distinguishes higher plants from algae. There is increasing research activity on the spatio-temporal determinants of gene expression patterns, regulatory control systems, mechanical properties, etc. that integrate to lead to growth and development and there is an increasing need to create mathematical, models of the observations and, more importantly, the underlying mechanisms.
These can be quite complex because the relationships between the changes have to be understood in relation to each other. In other words, although components can be studied in isolation a full understanding is only obtained when they are treated as an integrated whole. This requires concise mathematical models that are usually translated into computable models. Although focussed on plants, the work will have general application. The initial goal of the network is to catalyse the rapid distribution of mathematical ideas, methods and the articulation of potential problems, a distant goal is the creation of a Virtual Plant.