Claire Tomlin (UC Berkeley, Stanford University)
As the understanding of cellular regulatory networks grows, system dynamics and behaviors resulting from feedback effects of such systems have proven to be sufficiently complex so as to prevent intuitive understanding. Mathematical modeling in engineering and in physics or chemistry has traditionally sought to extrapolate from existing information and underlying principles to create complex descriptions of various systems, which could be analyzed or simulated, and from which further abstractions could be made. However, in studying biological systems, often only incomplete abstracted hypotheses exist to explain observed complex patterning and functions. The challenge has become to show that enough of a network is understood to explain the behavior of the system. Mathematical modeling must simultaneously characterize the complex and nonintuitive behavior of a network, while revealing deficiencies in the model and suggesting new experimental directions. In this talk, we describe the process of modeling two biological networks: planar cell polarity in development, and treated regulatory networks in breast cancer. We demonstrate the use of the mathematical models, both in understanding the system behavior, and in suggesting new treatments.
The European Future Technologies Conference and Exhibition 2011 is the second instalment of a new forum dedicated to frontier research in information and communication technologies. fet11 is a unique conference on visionary, high-risk and long-term research in information science and technology. Featuring an exceptionally broad range of scientific fields the event will seed new ideas across disciplines that will reshape the future.