This Friday, 11 August, we have a School Colloquium with Dr Robyn Araujo from Queensland University of Technology. The talk is in Ingkarni Wardli B17 at 15:10.

Mathematics is Biology’s Next Microscope (Only Better!)

Abstract: While mathematics has long been considered “an essential tool for physics”, the foundations of biology and the life sciences have received significantly less influence from mathematical ideas and theory. In this talk, I will give a brief discussion of my recent research on robustness in molecular signalling networks, as an example of a complex biological question that calls for a mathematical answer. In particular, it has been a long-standing mystery how the extraordinarily complex communication networks inside living cells, comprising thousands of different interacting molecules, are able to function robustly since complexity is generally associated with fragility. Mathematics has now suggested a resolution to this paradox through the discovery that robust adaptive signalling networks must be constructed from a just small number of well-defined universal modules (or “motifs”), connected together. The existence of these newly-discovered modules has important implications for evolutionary biology, embryology and development, cancer research, and drug development.