StoNets - Controlling and exploiting stochasticity in gene regulatory networks
One of the defining features of biological systems is their robustness, the ability to carry out their function in spite of perturbations. This is not because these systems are rigid, unresponsive to changes in their environment. Rather, robustness emerges from adaptive responses, through which biological systems adjust their behavior to changes in the environment. Recently developed technologies for measuring gene expression have shown that most of the information encoded in the genome is constantly “read” by molecular machines. Many genes are expressed to some level or another in a multitude of conditions and even under the same conditions their expression level varies between cells in a population.
The aim of StoNets is to understand how these so-called ‘stochastic’ variations in gene expression between individual cells are controlled and exploited to produce robust behaviors at the level of cells and organs. One of our aims is to understand how cell-to-cell variability in gene expression is controlled. We will specifically investigate how networks of regulators have evolved to control variability of gene expression within cells. Another aim of our project is to understand how gene expression is regulated in two very intriguing contexts. The first is in the diurnal cycle, which even cells that are isolated from the body exhibit. What is intriguing about this process is that in spite of the stochasticity in the expression of individual genes, distinct subsets of genes oscillate with distinct phases. That is, they experience the peak in expression level at different times during the day. The second system that we will study is the reprogramming of differentiated cells into pluripotent cells (the so-called somatic cell reprogramming). It appears that the efficiency of reprogramming is apparently determined by the stochastic entry of cells into a “reprogrammable” state and we would like to gain insight into the initial steps of this process.
For interest in working with StoNets please contact members directly. Apply »
The 2nd International SystemsX.ch Conference on Systems Biology will bring together world-class scientists from a variety of disciplines who apply quantitative and systems-wide approaches to the life sciences from October 20-23, 2014 in Lausanne.
The conference will focus on five distinct topics in current systems biology research, including sessions on quantitative cell and developmental biology, functional genomics and gene regulation, systems genetics and medicine, theoretical and biophysical modeling, and quantitative single-cell approaches. As a whole, the program reflects the current state-of-the-art in the now maturing field of systems biology research, highlighting quantitative approaches at multiple scales, from single molecules and cells to whole tissues and organisms. Read more »
This is the Swiss-wide Systems Biology networking and information exchange event hosted at Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern. Don't miss the chance to meet members of AntibodyX and many other groups of SystemsX.ch. Several topics will be covered including presentations focused on: 1) medical relevance; 2) Knowledge & Technology transfer; 3) Modeling & IT. Read more »