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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellows' Seminar - The Importance of Oscillations?

16th January 2017, 13:00 to 14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green, Professor Mark Fricker (Oxford University, UK)

A variety of imaging techniques have allowed visualisation of dynamic processes in living systems across a range of scales from microns to meters. In a number of instances, imaging has revealed that critical processes are associated with fluctuating or oscillatory phenomena, rather than running at a quasi steady state. Thus, we are beginning to question whether oscillations are in fact the norm in biological systems, but have been previously obscured by population averaging inherent in most biochemical approaches or linear extrapolation from a series of snapshot images. Mathematical modelling has been used to simulate a few of these processes, and can capture complex behaviour using relatively simple interactions between activator and inhibitor fields in reaction-diffusion systems and Turing patterns. The underlying mechanisms (diffusion and feedback) follow basic biophysical principles, and may reflect fundamental building blocks of 'biological logic' rather than the boolean operators more familiar from computing science. This seminar will present a number of examples that illustrate oscillatory phenomena and simulations as a basis for discussion on organising principles in biology.

Fellows' seminars take place on Monday lunchtimes in the seminar room at Cosin's Hall.

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues interested in attending a seminar should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.

The aim of these seminars is to develop new thinking on the big issues that are of current concern/interest for the Fellows . Each Fellow is asked to present a core idea that informs their current work, or a problem that they are tackling, that could benefit from cross-disciplinary thinking. These seminars are informal and designed to encourage discussion.

Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.