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UBC Math Dept
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Mathematical Biology and related seminars

September, 2015
Thursday,
September 3
Gautam I. Menon -- 2:00 pm in ESB 4133
Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, India
A Computational Model for Chromosome Positioning
Abstract
DNA in the form of chromosomes is packaged by histones, proteins that help to compact the approximately 2m of DNA in our nuclei into a nuclear space of a few microns in extent. The combination of DNA, and the proteins and RNA which bind to it, is chromatin. I will describe recent theoretical work from my group on models for the architecture of chromatin in the mammalian cell nucleus. These models describe chromatin as "active matter", a term which emphasizes the central role of non-equilibrium (energy-consuming) processes, or "activity". Our results address several long-standing questions in nuclear architecture, among them the large-scale territorial organization of chromosomes and their non-trivial positioning patterns, suggesting a simple, yet general, framework within which they may be understood.
Thursday,
September 10
Gautam I. Menon -- 2:00 pm in ESB 4133
The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, India
Crowding: Why it might not be a bad idea after all
Abstract
Cells provide highly crowded environments for the processes governing life to play out. We have been exploring some contexts, involving the transport of vesicle-encapsulated material down axons in nerve cells, where crowding appears to be crucial to healthy function. I will discuss how and why this might happen, describing some subtleties that must be accounted for when cellular motor-driven transport is modelled. Our work suggests that the robustness of cargo transport in crowded environments is an emergent property of the interaction of cargo vesicles with other vesicles as well as with crowding elements, and thus depends crucially on the milieu in which such vesicles move.This is joint work with the laboratory of Sandhya Koushika of TIFR, Mumbai and centres around a close collaboration between computational modelling and experiment.

Seminar series sponsored by PIMS.

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