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In this think tank, we will focus on dynamic multi-system resilience in human ageing looking at it through the lens of complex adaptive systems (CAS). We will bring together an interdisciplinary, diverse group of researchers and experts to discuss the topic.

Event details of Think tank: Resilience in human ageing
Date 11 April 2018
Time 14:00 -17:30
Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

Physicians and scientists are still largely unable to quantify how people respond when their health is challenged by the occurrence of intermittent disease or by treatment such as surgery or chemotherapy. Also, medicine is unable to predict if and how they will recover from such perturbations. This knowledge is crucial for personalised medicine as well as for transforming healthcare to be prepared for the quickly growing health care demands of an ageing population.

Resilience may be best described as the ability to withstand and recover from stress and perturbation and may offer a means to quantify the robustness to stress and recovery potential of individuals in medicine. Therefore, the resilience concept is currently gaining momentum in medicine and biomedical research. Several fields of study such as mechanics/engineering, psychology, physiology, sociology, economics, and management sciences have developed their own conceptualisations and operationalisations of resilience and each may help to define and measure resilience in medicine.

Marten Scheffer, IAS external faculty member, Professor of Aquatic Ecology, WUR

Complementary to the resilience conceptualisations derived from other fields, the field of complex, dynamical systems treats resilience as an emergent property arising out of a dynamical interaction of the system parts involved. This systems approach may offer a number of valuable insights into understanding the concept of resilience in human ageing, as well as additional classes of resilience indicators, which may be worthwhile to be introduced in medicine.



14:15 - Opening by Marcel Olde Rikkert
14:30 - Who-is-who by René Melis
15:00 - Resilience of complex systems by Marten Scheffer
15:15 - Introduction of a clinical case by Heather Whitson
15:30 - Discussion round 1
16:15 - Coffee break
16:30 - Discussion - round 2
17:15 - Conclusions and next steps by Marcel Olde Rikkert

Participants (confirmed)

  • Daniel Davis, Associate Professor Geriatric Medicine, UCL London
  • Alfons Hoekstra, Professor Computational Science, UvA
  • Martijn Huisman, Scientific Director of the Longitudinal Ageing Study Amsterdam (LASA), Professor of Epidemiology of Ageing, VUmc 
  • Ingrid van de Leemput, Assistant Professor Ecology, WUR
  • Gaby Lunansky, PhD Candidate Psychologic Methods, UvA
  • Han van der Maas, Professor Psychologic Methods, UvA
  • RenĂ© Melis, Assistant Professor Geriatric Epidemiology, Radboud University medical center
  • Marcel Olde Rikkert, Professor Geriatric Medicine, Radboud University medical center
  • Rick Quax, Assisant Professor Information Processing in Complex Adaptive Systems, UvA
  • Jerrald Rector, Movement Scientist, Radboud University medical center
  • Marten Scheffer, Professor Aquatic Ecology, WUR
  • Heather Whitson, Associate Professor Geriatric Medicine, Duke University, Durham

As the organisers are facilitating interactive discussions, participant capacity is limited.