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Design principles and control in biological systems

Friday, April 10, 2015
12:00 AM
1300 Chemistry

Joint seminar with Biophysics


My research aims to understand how cellular systems organize themselves. This work spans multiple scales from a single cell, to multicellular systems, to the dynamics of tissues. In this talk, I will focus on tow aspects of this work. 

First, I will discuss the induction of intra-cellular polarity in the context of motility. Substantial efforts have been directed at mapping the signal transduction networks that direct polarity responses. Here I will describe new, highly efficient and automatable computational techniques that can be used to elucidate 1) how these networks process stimuli, and 2) how they can be augmented to manipulate cells sensitivity to their environment. I will  additionally discuss ongoing work with Levchenko Lab (Yale Bioeningineering) aimed at understanding how changes in polarity machinery influence cellular behaviors, and in particular, how this might lead to dysregulation of motility in cancer cells.

Second, I will discuss how the early mammalian embryo accomplishes the critical first step in its development, formation of the precursor to the placenta. While numerous investigations have posited mechanisms for constructing of these structures, it remains unknown how they are reproducibly and robustly organized. In collaboration with the Cho Lab (UC Irvine), we combine modeling with immunofluorescence image quantification to investigate this process in developing mouse embryos.

William R. Holmes, Mathematics & Statistics, University of Melbourne