Using Engineering Principles To Study and Manipulate Biological Systems at the Cellular Level

Posted in Conferences, Companies, Science on April 14, 2009

Using Engineering Principles To Study and Manipulate Biological Systems at the Cellular Level, presented by Carlos Gómez-Uribe

Biological cells sense information from their environment and respond to it in consistent ways, while robustly regulating many internal variables. These feats are achieved by systems of chemical reactions (e.g., gene networks or signaling pathways) that are highly complex, typically involving non-linear dynamics, several regulation mechanisms or feedback loops, multiple time scales, and possibly stochastic and spatial effects. Engineering disciplines have developed a rich set of tools and frameworks to successfully study, model, and design similarly complex systems. These disciplines are thus potentially well suited to contribute to the study of biological systems. The first part of this talk will illustrate, through the specific example of the osmoregulation network in yeast, how systems engineering ideas can contribute to experimental studies of biological systems. The second part of the talk describes the pursuit of a framework for systematically constructing simple, yet accurate models of systems of chemical reactions. Such models need to incorporate stochastic and/or spatial effects when required, but should be simpler than the available models based on chemical master equations, which are often computationally demanding and analytically intractable. We will describe the progress made and potential future research directions.

Carlos A. Gómez-Uribe obtained a PhD in Medical Engineering at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology in 2008, and is currently an analyst in search evaluation. He holds a master degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), and undergraduate degrees in EECS and Mathematics, all from MIT. His research focused on applying systems theory and statistical tools to a range of problems, mostly in Biology.

Google Tech Talk
April 10, 2009

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Tags: Techtalks, Google, Conferences, Science, Google Tech Talks, Companies, Biological Systems