SMS scnews item created by Philip Treharne at Thu 26 Apr 2007 1139
Type: Seminar
Distribution: World
Expiry: 2 May 2007
Calendar1: 2 May 2007 1400-1500
CalLoc1: Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre

Applied Maths Seminar: Baker -- Mathematical modelling in developmental biology

DATE: Wednesday, May 2 
TIME: 2:00pm 
LOCATION: University of Sydney, Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre (Level 1) 


The recent revolution in molecular biology has led to enormous advances in the field,
for example the sequencing of whole genomes and the generation of a huge amount of
data.  However, given all this new information, biologists are still struggling to
answer basic questions about how function and form arise from this grand "blue print"
for life; how do genes and proteins interact with each other and the environment to
create complex, dynamic, living systems? 

In order to begin to answer some of these questions, we turn to developmental biology to
provide us with some paradigms of systems in which physical and chemical processes
interact to produce the spatio-temporal cues guiding formation of living systems.  These
interactions are inherently nonlinear and therefore not amenable to analysis using the
verbal models preferred by many biologists.  Indeed, the latter mode of thinking, being
linear in nature, can lead to incorrect conclusions.  Mathematical modelling and
computer simulation are powerful tools in generating and testing hypotheses on how
observed phenomena arise from the complex interaction of various physical and chemical
processes, and in making experimentally testable predictions.  

In this talk I will discuss two areas on which my research concentrates: segmentation of
the vertebrate head-tail axis and morphogen-controlled domain growth.  I will outline
each biological system, the mathematical modelling techniques used and the possibilities
for hypothesis generation and testing.

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