Our laboratory studies how micro- and nanoscale systems can be deployed to understand, diagnose, and treat human disease. In this talk, I will describe our progress in two application areas: liver disease and cancer. In the area of hepatic tissue engineering, we are developing microtechnology tools to understand how ensembles of cells coordinate to produce tissues with emergent properties in the body.
Ultrasensitive, threshold responses are critical for robust bistability (e.g. epigenetic switches) and oscillation (e.g. clocks, cell cycle) in regulatory networks. Protein sequestration, where an active protein is bound in an inactive complex by an inhibitor, is a common molecular mechanism in natural regulatory circuits.
Kellen Olszewski, a graduate student in Manuel Llinás' group has been selected to receive a 2011 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award sponsored by the Basic Sciences Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Kellen is one of twelve graduate students to be chosen for this award. Nominations were solicited internationally; the winners were selected on the basis of the quality, originality and significance of their work.
The virulence of bacterial pathogens, like many other important processes, is multifactorial, genetically robust and under complex regulation. For the water-borne pathogen Vibrio cholerae we are utilizing high throughput genome-wide methods to identify factors that contribute to fitness at each stage of its life cycle. For the respiratory tract pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae we are comparing in vitro with host environments in order to determine which specific selective forces play a role during infection and how they direct gene utilization and virulence. We are also determining which
Recent experiments in neuroscience suggest that cortical networks at many scales may be operating near a critical point, much like that seen in a second-order phase transition. In this talk I will review experimental data from several labs, including ours, which suggest this. I will also explain why information transmission, information storage and computational power are all expected to peak at the critical point in neural networks.
Flocking - the collective motion of large numbers of organisms or other self-propelled entities - exhibits a number of strange and baffling phenomena. Indeed, its very existence in two dimensions would appear to violate a fundamental theorem of statistical mechanics, while in any spatial dimension, flocks exhibit giant number fluctuations far in excess of those predicted by the "law of large numbers" of statistics.