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Aneta Stefanovska

My work is motivated by the question “What are the physical principles underlying living systems?”. Living systems are characterised by their ability to respond to fluctuations coming from the external and internal environments. They exchange energy and matter with their environments and often do so in a regular way. Hence they have mechanisms to stabilise the frequency and amplitude of the associated oscillations, and can be characterised as interacting self-sustained non-autonomous oscillators.

We have named this class of systems chronotaxic (from chronos – time and taxis – order) and we are now defining their properties. We also work on the development of the numerical methods needed for studying the dynamics of chronotaxic systems as an inverse problem. Analysing recorded data, we observe similar patterns at all levels of complexity: starting from cells up to the cardiovascular system and the brain, to ecosystems and climate. Similar properties were observed also in laboratory experiments on surface state electrons on liquid helium.

In my work I learn from nature, but I also try to be useful to nature. Recording time-series, and analysing the underlying dynamics with our new algorithms, we investigate how we age in a dynamical sense, or what happens when we are unconsciousness in anaesthesia, or what changes take place in various cardiovascular diseases. Recently, we started investigating the dynamical markers of cancer.