Tuesday, February 19, 2008

PCSC 2008: Dr. Baltazar Aguda

PCSC 2008
8th Philippine Computing Science Congress
23 - 24 February 2008
University of the Philippines-Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Organized by: Computing Society of the Philippines (CSP)
Tel. +63 2 7090907, +63 2 4266125
E-mail: computingsoc@gmail.com
Website: http://www.csp.org.ph

Speaker : Baltazar D. Aguda , PhD
Mathematical Biosciences Institute, Ohio State University; and
OSU Medical Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

Title: Amazing Biomolecular Computations

Schedule of Talk: Morning 24 Feb 2008


I will not be talking about the brain, which is perhaps the most amazing biological computational entity in nature. Instead, I will first give some interesting examples of biological processes where certain algorithms are obviously at play but hardly understood, and then discuss our modest contributions in elucidating the molecular and mechanistic origins of key cellular decisions. The primary goal of this talk is to help motivate the participation of more computational scientists in solving complex biological problems that – because of the current flood of data from omics technologies - are increasingly coming into focus.

The development of a multicellular organism – with intricate architecture, composed of specialized tissues and organs - from one single fertilized egg cell is a most fascinating phenomenon. How can the genome that resides in the DNA molecules of a cell orchestrate the development of a complex organism? An example that will be briefly described is the construction of the adult nematode worm (C. elegans) which is composed of about a thousand cells. The trajectories of cell differentiation and cell lineages in this organism are practically deterministic! It remains a widely open problem how this is carried out. I think the secrets will be unraveled by careful analysis of how cellular genomic information is expressed as the environment of a cell evolves during the growth of the organism. I will provide two examples of how information encoded in the DNA tells the cell how to respond to its immediate environment: the lac and tryp operons of the bacterium E. coli.

My collaborators and I have been interested in the question of how a eukaryotic cell decides when to replicate its DNA. Understanding the control of the cell cycle is essential in the study of diseases such as cancer. I will briefly summarize the biochemical networks regulating the cell cycle and then discuss what we have learned about the key network nodes that we think are responsible for triggering DNA replication. For more information about our work, visit https://people.mbi.ohio-state.edu/baguda/AgudaLab.

No comments: