Digital Frukost: Homeostasis and the Kinetics of Integral Control

How can organisms maintain stable internal conditions in a changing environment or during growth? The concept of homeostasis has been important for understanding physiological regulation, development of disease and more recently for bioengineering and synthetic biology.

Peter Ruoff is Professor of Chemistry and Biological Chemistry (Centre for Organelle Research, University of Stavanger) and has been devoted to understand the molecular kinetics underlying cellular and physiological processes. He will talk about concepts of homeostasis and his work together with control engineers to understand fundamental regulatory mechanisms of biological systems:

Cannon’s definition of homeostasis states that cells and organisms maintain an internal stability by keeping their steady states within narrow limits. It is well recognized that negative feedback loops are essential elements to obtain homeostasis. By analyzing the reaction kinetics of negative feedback loops we identified conditions which lead to integral control. Integral control (or integral feedback) is a control-engineering concept which originated in the beginning of the 20th century to regulate industrial processes. Integral control allows the regulation of a controlled variable robustly to a given set-point,­ independent of step-wise perturbations acting on the controlled variable.

In this presentation I will give a brief overview of the development of Cannon’s homeostasis concept together with later made alternative suggestions (rheostasis, allostasis). I will give examples how integral control can be implemented in biochemical/physiological contexts together with the parameters/conditions which determine accuracy and response time. With respect to synthetic biology, I will show how certain integral controllers can oppose time-dependent perturbations, such as the dilution effects of growing cells which increase their cellular volume exponentially in time.

The seminar will be at Høyteknologisenteret, Computational Biology Unit, Department of Informatics, Datablokken, 5. floor.

"Digital Frukost" is an open breakfast seminar series focusing on research activities at the interface between the biological sciences and that of mathematics, computer science, physics or engineering. Examples of such research activities could be mathematical or computational modeling of biological systems, application of engineering/control systems theory on biological systems or inspired by biological systems, application of mathematics/statistics/machine learning to analyze big data in health or marine sector; from sensor systems, imaging or omics technologies etc. The seminars are arranged by the Centre for Digital Life Norway (DLN:

We hope to see many of you there!

As food will be served, please register your attendance using this link.


Published Oct. 8, 2020 1:38 PM - Last modified Oct. 8, 2020 1:38 PM