Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Mathematics and Statistics
Maleek Richardson - North Carolina A&T State University
Co-Author(s): Cameron Bernado, Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, NC
The sleep/wake cycle is the species specific biological pattern of alternating sleep and wakefulness, which in humans is roughly 8 hours of nocturnal sleep and 16 hours of daytime activity. Sleep is important not only because it provides rest and recovery, but also allows dynamic biological activities that are vital to our everyday health to occur. In this project, we present a biologically based mathematical model. This model accounts for features including the timing of sleep and wakefulness. We use the model in investigating how wake-promoting neurons inhibit sleep-promoting neurons, and conversely how sleep-promoting neurons inhibit wake-promoting neurons. This mechanism of excitation and inhibition generates a ‘flip-flop’ switch, which we further investigate based on previously studied models. Simulations performed with the above differential equations generates patterns that support the flip-flop switch. Analyzing the results generated from those simulations help explain mathematical phenomena, such as bifurcation, that exist in the model. A more detailed analysis leads to better insight on the mathematical mechanisms and biological processes behind the sleep/wake cycle.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF
Faculty Advisor: Choongseok Park,