[Non]-Deterministic dynamics in cells: From multistability to stochastic switching. PDF slides
Adam Halasz
West Virginia University

01/15/2010 – 2pm, GHC 6501.


I will discuss the interplay between deterministic dynamics and stochastic effects in live cells. The main example is the lac operon, a set of self-promoting genes, which, together with the enzymes they express, act as a hysteretic switch. Stochastic simulations of the same system predict spontaneous, random switching by individual cells. This behavior can be well described by a simple abstraction. In a broader context, I will review a few examples where stochasticity leads to useful and quantifiable behavior that amounts to a hedging strategy on the level of a population of cells.


Adam Halasz completed undergraduate studies in physics at the University of Bucharest, Romania. He received his Ph.D in theoretical nuclear physics from Stony Brook University. As a post-doc at the University of Pennsylvania, he became interested in systems biology and joined the bio-computation group in the GRASP Lab in the Engineering School. Besides topics in bacterial physiology, he has worked on reachability of hybrid systems and swarm robotics. He joined the Mathematics Department at West Virginia University as an assistant professor in 2008. He is currently studying the implications of spatial effects (diffusion) on the binding properties of VEGF receptors on the cell membrane, supported by a mentored career support grant from NIH-NCI. This project is in close collaboration with the Spatio-Temporal Modeling Center at the University of New Mexico.

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nsfSupported by an Expeditions in Computing award from the National Science Foundation