Game theory and biochemical networks

John van Drie (Van Drie Research LLC)

(April 7, 2009 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM)

Game theory and biochemical networks


The traditional way of modeling biochemical networks is to treat the system as a set of coupled ordinary differential equations, using experimentally-determined rate constants and initial concentrations. When sufficient experimental data is available, this approach is successful, though a major challenge is to extract general, global behaviors of the system.

We are exploring Game Theory as an alternative approach to modeling biochemical networks. Game Theory has been applied successfully to modeling ecological networks (eg work of J Maynard Smith), and in that setting yields insights into phenomena like predator/prey oscillations and criteria for evolutionary stability. The key Game Theory concepts whose counterparts may be sought in biochemical networks are Nash Equilibrium and Braess' paradox, which highlights how the inhibition of one step in a system producing quantity X may paradoxically increase the overall quantity of X produced by the system.