Mathematical Modeling of Regenerative Processes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review


In many animals, regenerative processes can replace lost body parts. Organ and tissue regeneration consequently also hold great medical promise. The regulation of regenerative processes is achieved through concerted actions of multiple organizational levels of the organism, from diffusing molecules and cellular gene expression patterns up to tissue mechanics. Our intuition is usually not adapted well to this degree of complexity and the quantitative aspects of the regulation of regenerative processes remain poorly understood. One way out of this dilemma lies in the combination of experimentation and mathematical modeling within an iterative process of model development/refinement, model predictions for novel experimental conditions, quantitative experiments testing these predictions, and subsequent model refinement. This interdisciplinary approach has already provided key insights into smaller scale processes during embryonic development and a so-far limited number of more complex regeneration processes. This review discusses selected theoretical and interdisciplinary studies and is structured along the three phases of regeneration: (1) initiation of a regeneration response, (2) tissue patterning during regenerate growth, (3) arresting the regeneration response. Moreover, we highlight the opportunities provided by extensions of mathematical models from developmental processes toward the study of related regenerative processes.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-317
Number of pages35
JournalCurrent topics in developmental biology
Publication statusPublished - 2014

External IDs

Scopus 84893584612
ORCID /0000-0003-0137-5106/work/142244230



  • mathematical model, in silico model. simulation, computational biology, systems biology, regeneration