University of Dundee

Rise and Fall of Cooperation: Theoretical and Synthetic Models

Event Date: 
Friday, September 8, 2017 - 11:00
Event Location: 
Dr Rastko Sknepnek
Event Speaker: 
Dr Matteo Cavaliere
University of Edinburgh
Event Type: 

All Welcome




Social, biological and economic communities grow and decline with recurrent fragmentation and re-formation, often explained in terms of external perturbations. I will present a computational model of  dynamical networks and evolutionary game theory that explains these phenomena as consequence of the endogenous conflicts between "cooperators" and "cheaters": Cooperators promote well-organised prosperous (but fragile) communities and cheaters cause them to fragment and lose their prosperity leading to recurrent cycles of formation and fragmentation observed, for instance, in bacterial organisations. I will discuss how this type of models can be validated with synthetic biology and used to investigate the eco-evolutionary dynamics of cellular communities.


Prosperity is Associated with Instability in Dynamical Networks. M. Cavaliere, S. Sedwards, C.E. Tarnita, M.A. Nowak, A. Csikasz-Nagy.  Journal of Theoretical Biology, 299, 2012.

Plasticity Facilitates Sustainable Growth in the Commons. M. Cavaliere, J.F. Poyatos. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 10, 2013.

Eco-Evolutionary Feedbacks can Rescue Cooperation in Microbial Populations. C. Moreno-Fenoll, M. Cavaliere, E. Martinez-Garcia, J.F. Poyatos. Scientific Reports, 7, 2017.

Cooperation and Competition in the Dynamics of Tissue Architecture during Homeostasis and Tumorigenesis. A. Csikasz-Nagy, L. M. Escudero, M. Guillaud, S. Sedwards, B. Baum, M. Cavaliere. Seminars in Cancer Biology, 23. 4, 2013.