Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease characterised by the growth of fatty plaques in the major arteries. These plaques can cause heart attack and strokes. Atherosclerosis is one of the major causes of death in the developed world, and yet mathematical modelling of atherosclerosis is still in its infancy. By contrast, mathematical modelling of cancer, another major cause of death, is a mature field which contributes to the design of therapy and the delivery of personalised medicine. As awareness increases of the insights that modelling of atherosclerosis can deliver, we anticipate that models will contribute similar tangible healthcare benefits to patients with atherosclerosis.

The aim of the proposed workshop is to bring together, for the first time, mathematicians, engineers and experimental scientists, in order to critically analyse existing lines of research in atherosclerosis and to set strategic directions, leading to new mathematical approaches and new models with strong biological foundations.

In the past, mathematical engagement with atherosclerosis has focussed on blood flow, perfusion and structure-function models of blood vessels. Blood flow is important ininitiating plaque formation, but the disease is primarily driven by interactions between immune cells, (mostly macrophages), and lipids (mainly cholesterol)

The field is ripe for rapid expansion, including identifying and modelling changes in macrophage behaviour which enable model plaques to resolve, identifying critical parameters for experimental measurement and incorporating whole-body physiological effects.

By establishing synergistic, interdisciplinary collaborations, we aim to formulate new models and/or mathematical approaches which will enable this field of research to grow in exciting new directions.


This MATRIX Research Program is partially supported by AMSI and AustMS through the AMSI-AustMS Workshop Funding .


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