Theoretical biology and biophysics

Hermsen lab

The Hermsen lab is lead by Rutger Hermsen. It is part of the Theoretical Biology and Bioinformatic group and the Institute for Biodynamics & Biocomplexity at Utrecht University in The Netherlands.

Currently, our research focusses on the physiology of bacterial cells and a broad range of topics in evolutionary biology. For more details, see Research and Publications.

Hermsen Movie2 S.mp4

Just out:
Emergent Multilevel Selection in a Simple Spatial Model of the Evolution of Altruism

October 25, 2022

Our newest article just appeared online at PLOS Computational Biology!

Theories on the evolutionary origins of altruistic behavior have a long history and have become a canonical part of the theory of evolution. Nevertheless, the mechanisms that allow altruism to appear and persist are still incompletely understood. It is well known, however, that the spatial structure of populations is an important determinant. In both theoretical and experimental studies, much attention has been devoted to populations that are subdivided into discrete groups. Such studies typically imposed the structure and dynamics of the groups by hand. Here, we instead present a simple individual-based model in which altruistic organisms spontaneously self-organize into spatially separated colonies that themselves reproduce by binary fission and hence behave as Darwinian entities in their own right.

Read the article here!

Emergent Multilevel Selection in a Simple Spatial Model of the Evolution of Altruism.
Rutger Hermsen
PLOS Computational Biology 18, no. 10 (October 25, 2022): e1010612. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1010612.