Cell biology

Monday, September 13, 2010 - 2:15pm - 3:00pm
Dennis Discher (University of Pennsylvania)
Cells make a number of key decisions by actively adhering to a substrate and applying forces. Naive mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from human bone marrow will be shown to specify lineage and commit to phenotypes on collagen-coated hydrogels with tissue-level elasticity. Soft matrices that mimic brain appear neurogenic, stiffer matrices that mimic muscle are myogenic, and comparatively rigid matrices that mimic collagenous bone prove osteogenic.
Monday, September 13, 2010 - 10:45am - 11:30am
Hans Othmer (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
New techniques in cell and molecular biology have produced huge advances in our
understanding of signal transduction and cellular response in many systems, and
this has led to better cell-level models for problems ranging from biofilm
formation to embryonic development. However, many problems involve very large
numbers of cells, and detailed cell-based descriptions are computationally
prohibitive at present. Thus rational techniques for incorporating cell-level
Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - 1:00pm - 1:40pm
Devarajan Thirumalai (University of Maryland)
The sequence dependent folding landscapes of nucleic acid
hairpins reflect much of the complexity of biomolecular
folding. Recently, mechanical folding trajectories, generated
using single molecule force clamp experiments by attaching
semiflexible polymers to the ends of hairpins have been used to
infer their folding landscapes. Using simulations and theory,
we study the effect of the dynamics of the attached handles on
the RNA free energy profile F(zm), where
zm is the molecular
Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - 4:30pm - 5:10pm
Ravi Radhakrishnan (University of Pennsylvania)
We discuss theoretical and computational methodologies for quantitatively
describing how cell-membrane topologies are actively mediated and
manipulated by intracellular protein assemblies. Such scenarios are
ubiquitous in intracellular trafficking mechanisms, i.e., active transport
mechanisms characterized by vesicle nucleation and budding of the cell
membrane orchestrated by protein-interaction networks. We will describe the
development and application of the kinetic Monte Carlo time-dependent
Sunday, March 3, 2013 - 4:15pm - 4:45pm
Jasmine Foo (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
Cancer initiation, progression, and treatment can be described as a complex evolutionary process occurring at the level of cells in the body. Mathematical models of this process can yield useful insights into the mechanisms causing cancer and also suggest possible treatment strategies. In this talk, I will introduce some basic mathematical models of cancer evolution and describe some applications to the design of treatment strategies.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 - 2:00pm - 2:50pm
Cornelius Weijer (University of Dundee)
We investigate the molecular mechanisms by which cells produce and detect
chemotactic signals and translate this information in directed coordinated
movement up or down chemical gradients in the social amoebae Dictyostelium
discoideum, and during gastrulation in the chick embryo.

In Dictyostelium starvation for food induces the aggregation of up to hundreds
of thousands of individual amoebae into a multi-cellular aggregate. During
aggregation the cells differentiate into several distinct celltypes, which sort
Friday, May 30, 2008 - 11:15am - 12:05pm
Philippe Cluzel (University of Chicago)
In recent years, there have been significant efforts to characterize the noise associated with the regulation of intracellular processes. Intrinsic fluctuations are often due to the small number of molecules that govern these processes. However, noise is not always caused by a low number of molecules; the regulatory network itself can cause large fluctuations in the number of signaling molecules.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 - 2:00pm - 2:50pm
Yu-li Wang (University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester Campus)
We have applied new experimental and computational approaches to understand the mechanical events of adherent cells. While the extensive use of flexible substrates has lead to excellent understanding of traction forces, introduction of long polymers into the cytoplasm has started to shed light on weak gradients of forces generated by the cortex. In addition, a top-down mathematical model has been developed to simulate the control circuit that coordinates protrusions and retractions.
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