Mathematical Biology and Ecology Seminar

Please note that the list below only shows forthcoming events, which may not include regular events that have not yet been entered for the forthcoming term. Please see the past events page for a list of all seminar series that the department has on offer.

Past events in this series
26 January 2018
14:00
Abstract

I will discuss a new theoretical approach to information and decisions in signalling systems and relate this to new experimental results about the NF-kappaB signalling system. NF-kappaB is an exemplar system that controls inflammation and in different contexts has varying effects on cell death and cell division. It is commonly claimed that it is information processing hub, taking in signals about the infection and stress status of the tissue environment and as a consequence of the oscillations, transmitting higher amounts of information to the hundreds of genes it controls. My aim is to develop a conceptual and mathematical framework to enable a rigorous quantifiable discussion of information in this context in order to follow Francis Crick's counsel that it is better in biology to follow the flow of information than those of matter or energy. In my approach the value of the information in the signalling system is defined by how well it can be used to make the "correct decisions" when those "decisions" are made by molecular networks. As part of this I will introduce a new mathematical method for the analysis and simulation of large stochastic non-linear oscillating systems. This allows an analytic analysis of the stochastic relationship between input and response and shows that for tightly-coupled systems like those based on current models for signalling systems, clocks, and the cell cycle this relationship is highly constrained and non-generic.

  • Mathematical Biology and Ecology Seminar
2 February 2018
14:00
Abstract

The ability of cells to sense and respond to the mechanical properties of their environments is fundamental to cellular behaviour, with stiffness found to be a key control parameter. The physical mechanisms underpinning mechanosensing are, however, not well understood. I here consider the key physical cellular behaviours of active contractility of the internal cytoskeleton and cell growth, coupling these into mechanical models. These models suggest new distinct mechanisms of mechanotransduction in cells and tissues.

  • Mathematical Biology and Ecology Seminar
9 February 2018
14:00
Abstract

Dr Nicola Beer heads up the Department of Stem Cell Engineering at the new Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford. Her team will use human stem cells to derive metabolically-relevant cells and tissues such as islets, hepatocytes, and adipocytes todiscover novel secreted factors and corresponding signalling pathways which modify cell function, health, and viability. Bycombining in vitro-differentiated human stem cell-derived models with CRISPR and other genomic targeting techniques, the teamassay cell function from changes in a single gene up to a genome-wide scale. Understanding the genes and pathways underlying cell function (and dysfunction) highlights potential targets for new Type 2 Diabetes therapeutics. Dr Beer will talk about the work ongoing in her team, as well as more broadly about the role of human stem cells in drug discovery and patient treatment.
 
 

  • Mathematical Biology and Ecology Seminar
16 February 2018
14:45
Abstract

T cells stimulation by antigen (peptide-MHC, pMHC) initiates adaptive immunity, a major factor contributing to vertebrate fitness. The T cell antigen receptor (TCR) present on the surface of T cells is the critical sensor for the recognition of and response to “foreign" entities, including microbial pathogens and transformed cells. Much is known about the complex molecular machine physically connected to the TCR to initiate, propagate and regulate signals required for cellular activation. However, we largely ignore the physical distribution, dynamics and reaction energetics of this machine before and after TCR binding to pMHC. I will illustrate a few basic notions of TCR signalling and potent quantitative in-cell approaches used to interpret TCR signalling behaviour. I will provide two examples where mathematical formalisation will be welcome to better understand the TCR signalling process.

 

Please see https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/qbiox-colloquium-dunn-school-seminar-hila... for further details.

  • Mathematical Biology and Ecology Seminar
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