Reka Albert, PhD, "Modeling and Control of Disease-Related Signal Transduction Networks"

March 16, 2016 |
10:30 am to 11:30 am
Jordan Hall Conference Center Auditorium

Please Join us for a Special Data Sciences Seminar:

Reka Albert, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Physics, Penn State University

Modeling and Control of Disease-Related Signal Transduction Networks"

Abstract: Mutations or alterations in the expression of element of cellular signaling networks can lead to incorrect behavioral decisions that could result in tumor development or metastasis.  Successful therapeutic strategies involve a reversal of the cascading effects of these deregulations, thus it is important to develop an understanding of the function and dynamics of signal transduction networks. My group at Penn State is collaborating with wet-bench scientists to develop and validate predictive models of various biological systems. Over the years we found that discrete dynamic modeling is very useful in molding qualitative interaction information into a predictive model.  The long-term dynamics (attractors) of these models can be directly related t the real system's behaviors, and various interventions are straightforward to implement.  We recently developed an efficient method to predict interventions that can drive the system toward a desired attractor or away from an undesired one.  This method is based on identifying a specific type of positive feedback loop, called stable motif.  Each stable motif corresponds to a point of no return in the dynamics of the system, and each attractor corresponds to a successive stabilization of a small set of stable motifs.  Control of these stable motifs (by imposing a sustained state for a subset of their nodes) drives any initial state of the system into the desired attractor.  This talk will illustrate the modeling and control framework in the signal transduction networks corresponding t T-LGL leukemia epithelial to mesenchymal transition of cancer cells.


Speaker Bio:  Professor Reka Albert received her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Notre Dame (2001), working with Prof. Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, then did postdoctoral research in mathematical biology at the University of Minnesota, working with Prof. Hans G. Othmer. She joined the Pennsylvania State University in 2003, where she currently is a Distinguished Professor of Physics with adjunct appointments in the Department of Biology ad the Huck Institute of the Life Sciences.  Prof. Albert is a theorist who works on predictive modeling of biological regulatory networks at multiple levels of organization. Dr. Albert's pioneering  publications on the structural heterogeneities of complex networks had a  large impact on te field, reflected in their identifications as "Fast breaking paper" and"High impact paper" by Thomson Reuters. Prof. Albert is a fellow of the American Physical Society, where she served as a member-at-large in the Division of Biological Physics.  She was a recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship (2004), an NSF Career Award (2007), and the Maria Goeppert-Mayer award (2011). Her service to the profession includes serving on the editorial board of the journals Physical Review E,The New Journal of Physics, IET Systems Biology, Biophysical Journal, SIAM Journal of Applied Dynamical Systems and Bulletin of Mathematical Biology,on the advisory board of the Mathematical  Biosciences Institute, and as peer reviewer for more than 35 journals. web: