## Christine Heitsch : The Combinatorics of RNA Branching

- Mathematical Biology ( 304 Views )Understanding the folding of RNA sequences into three-dimensional structures is one of the fundamental challenges in molecular biology. For example, the branching of an RNA secondary structure is an important molecular characteristic yet difficult to predict correctly, especially for sequences on the scale of viral genomes. However, results from enumerative, probabilistic, analytic, and geometric combinatorics yield insights into RNA structure formation, and suggest new directions in viral capsid assembly.

## Shweta Bansal : Got flu? Using small and big data to understand influenza transmission, surveillance and control

- Mathematical Biology ( 301 Views )Traditional infectious disease epidemiology is built on the foundation of high quality and high accuracy data on disease and behavior. While these data are usually characterized by smallsize, they benefit from designed sampling schemes that make it possible to make population-level inferences. On the other hand, digital infectious disease epidemiology uses existing digital traces, re-purposing them to identify patterns in health-related processes. In this talk, I will discuss our work using data from small epidemiological studies as well as administrative ??big data? to understand influenza transmission dynamics and inform disease surveillance and control.

## John Gemmer : Nature??s Forms are Frilly, Flexible and Functional

- Mathematical Biology ( 259 Views )Many patterns in Nature and industry arise from the system minimizing an appropriate energy. Torn plastic sheets and growing leaves provide striking examples of pattern forming systems which can transition from single wavelength geometries (leaves) to complex fractal-like shapes (lettuce). These fractal-like patterns seem to have many length scales, i.e. the same amount of extra detail can be seen when looking closer (??statistical self-similarity?). It is a mystery how such complex patterns could arise from energy minimization alone. In this talk I will address this puzzle by showing that such patterns naturally arise from the sheet adopting a hyperbolic non-Euclidean geometry. However, there are many different hyperbolic geometries that the growing leaf could select. I will show using techniques from analysis, differential geometry and numerical optimization that the fractal like patterns are indeed the natural minimizers for the system. I will also discuss the implications of our work to developing shape changing soft matter which can be implemented in soft machines.

## Sharon Lubkin : Notochord eccentricity and its relation to cell packing

- Mathematical Biology ( 252 Views )The notochord, the defining feature of chordates, is a pressurized tube which actuates elongation of the chordate embryo. The zebrafish notochord consists of large vacuolated cells surrounded by a thin sheath. We characterized the patterns of the cells?? packing, and their relationship to the known regular patterns from the study of foams, and irregular patterns in a gel bead system. Disruption of the wild type packing pattern leads to developmental defects. We characterize the bifurcations between the relevant regular patterns in terms of nondimensional geometrical and mechanical ratios, and suggest an important developmental role for the eccentric "staircase" pattern.

## Rachel Howard : Monitoring the systemic immune response to cancer therapy

- Mathematical Biology ( 246 Views )Complex interactions occur between tumor and host immune system during cancer development and treatment, and a weak systemic immune response can be prognostic of poor patient outcomes. We strive to not only better understand the dynamic behavior of circulating immune cell populations before and during cancer therapy, but also to monitor these dynamic changes to facilitate real-time prediction of patient outcomes and potentially therapy adaptation. I will provide examples of both theoretical (mathematical) and data-driven (epidemiological) approaches to incorporating established systemic immune markers into clinical decision-making. First, coupling models of local tumor-immune dynamics and systemic T cell trafficking allows us to simulate the evolution of tumor and immune cell populations in anatomically distant sites following local therapy, in turn identifying the optimal treatment target for maximum reduction of global tumor burden. Second, improved understanding of how circulating immune markers vary both within and between individual patients can allow more accurate risk stratification at diagnosis, and personalized prediction of patient response to therapy. The importance of multi-disciplinary collaborations in making predictive and prognostic models clinically relevant will be discussed.

## Daniel Lew : Modeling the effect of vesicle traffic on polarity establishment in yeast

- Mathematical Biology ( 231 Views )There are two generally accepted models for the cell biological positive feedback loops that allow yeast cells to break symmetry and establish an axis of polarity. Both have been subjects of published mathematical analyses. Here I will argue that the models used to support a vesicle trafficking model incorporated a simplifying assumption that seemed innocuous but in fact was critical to their success. The assumption is not physically plausible, and its removal means that the model fails. I will show how changing other assumptions can make the model work, but there is no experimental support for those changes. And without them, the vesicle trafficking model perturbs polarity, rather than establishing polarity

## Veronica Ciocanel : Stochastic and continuum dynamics in cellular transport

- Mathematical Biology ( 227 Views )The cellular cytoskeleton ensures the dynamic transport, localization, and anchoring of various proteins and vesicles. In the development of egg cells into embryos, messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules bind and unbind to and from cellular roads called microtubules, switching between bidirectional transport, diffusion, and stationary states. Since models of intracellular transport can be analytically intractable, asymptotic methods are useful in understanding effective cargo transport properties as well as their dependence on model parameters. We consider these models in the framework of partial differential equations as well as stochastic processes and derive the effective velocity and diffusivity of cargo at large time for a general class of problems. Including the geometry of the microtubule filaments allows for better prediction of particle localization and for investigation of previously unexplored mechanisms. Our numerical studies incorporating model microtubule structures suggest that anchoring of mRNA-molecular motor complexes may be necessary in localization, to promote healthy development of oocytes into embryos.

## Johannes Reiter : Minimal intratumoral heterogeneity in untreated cancers

- Mathematical Biology ( 219 Views )Genetic intratumoral heterogeneity is a natural consequence of imperfect DNA replication. Any two randomly selected cells, whether normal or cancerous, are therefore genetically different. I will discuss the extent of genetic heterogeneity within untreated cancers with particular regard to its clinical relevance. While genomic heterogeneity within primary tumors is associated with relapse, heterogeneity among treatment??naïve metastases has not been comprehensively assessed. We analyzed sequencing data for 76 untreated metastases from 20 patients and inferred cancer phylogenies for breast, colorectal, endometrial, gastric, lung, melanoma, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. We found that within individual patients a large majority of driver gene mutations are common to all metastases. Further analysis revealed that the driver gene mutations that were not shared by all metastases are unlikely to have functional consequences. A mathematical model of tumor evolution and metastasis formation provides an explanation for the observed driver gene homogeneity. Last, we found that individual metastatic lesions responded concordantly to targeted therapies in 91% of 44 patients. These data indicate that the cells within the primary tumors that gave rise to metastases are genetically homogeneous with respect to functional driver gene mutations and suggest that future efforts to develop combination therapies have the capacity to be curative.

## John Dallon : Modeling Fibroblast Populated Collagen Lattices

- Mathematical Biology ( 215 Views )In order to better understand wound contraction fibroblast populated collagen lattices have been studied for many years. In this talk I will discuss mathematical models for lattice contraction. The models are formulated with components at the cellular and sub cellular level with the goal of understanding the macroscopic behavior of the lattice.

## Andrew Brouwer : Harnessing environmental surveillance: mathematical modeling in the fight against polio

- Mathematical Biology ( 213 Views )Israel experienced an outbreak of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) in 2013-14, detected through environmental surveillance of the sewage system. No cases of acute flaccid paralysis were reported, and the epidemic subsided after a bivalent oral polio vaccination (bOPV) campaign. As we approach global eradication, polio will increasingly be detected only through environmental surveillance. However, we have lacked the theory to translate environmental surveillance into public health metrics; it is a priori unclear how much environmental surveillance can even say about population-level disease dynamics. We developed a framework to convert quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) cycle threshold data into scaled WPV1 and OPV1 concentrations for inference within a deterministic, compartmental infectious disease transmission model. We used differential algebra and profile likelihood techniques to perform identifiability analysis, that is, to assess how much information exists in the data for the model, and to quantify inference uncertainty. From the environmental surveillance data, we estimated the epidemic curve and transmission dynamics, determining that the outbreak likely happened much faster than previously thought. Our mathematical modeling approach brings public health relevance to environmental data that, if systematically collected, can guide eradication efforts.

## Grzegorz A. Rempala, PhD DSc : Contact Processes and Stochastic Models of Epidemics

- Mathematical Biology ( 204 Views )I will discuss some old and new results related to the analysis of stochastic SIR-type epidemics on a configuration model (CM) random graph having a fixed degree distribution p_k. In particular, I will describe the relevant large graph limit result which yields the law of large numbers (LLN) for the edge-based process. I will also discuss the applications of the LLN approximation in building a "network-free" SIR Markov hybrid model which can be used for epidemic parameters inference. The hybrid model idea appears particularly relevant in the context of the recent Ebola and the Zika epidemics.

## Jeremy Gunawardena : The Hopfield Barrier in eukaryotic gene regulation

- Mathematical Biology ( 201 Views )John Hopfield pointed out, in his seminal paper on kinetic proofreading, that if a biochemical system operates at thermodynamic equilibrium there is a barrier to how well it can achieve high-fidelity in transcription and translation. Hopfield showed that the only way to bypass this barrier is to dissipate energy and maintain the system away from equilibrium. Eukaryotic gene regulation uses dissipative mechanisms, such as nucleosome remodelling, DNA methylation and post-translational modification of histones, which are known to play a critical regulatory role but have been largely ignored in quantitative treatments. I will describe joint work with my colleague Angela DePace in which we use the recently-developed, graph-theoretic ?linear framework? to show that the sharpness with which a gene is turned ?on? or ?off? in response to an upstream transcription factor is limited if the regulatory system operates at equilibrium, even with arbitrary degrees of higher-order cooperativity. In contrast, if the regulatory system is maintained away from equilibrium, substantially higher degrees of sharpness can be achieved. We suggest that achieving sharpness in gene regulation exhibits a Hopfield Barrier, and uncover, along the way, a new interpretation for the ubiquitously used, but poorly justified, Hill function.

## David Basanta : The ecology of cancer: mathematical modelling and clinical implications

- Mathematical Biology ( 179 Views )Decades of research in cancer have yielded scant results other than highlighting the need for new approaches that could go beyond the tried and tested molecular-based ones. Recent clinical studies show that tumour heterogeneity and selection, the ingredients of Darwinian evolution, can explain cancer progression towards malignancy as well as recurrence after treatment. In this talk I will describe mathematical and computational models that explore cancer evolutionary dynamics and that can explain how the interactions between the tumour with its environment (the tumour ecosystem) can yield a better understanding of cancer biology and lead to better and more efficacious treatments for cancer patients.

## Jim Nolen : Sticky limit theorems for statistics in singular spaces.

- Mathematical Biology ( 147 Views )This talk is about extending classical limit theorems of probability (law of large numbers, central limit theorem) to a non-Euclidean setting. I'll talk about new and interesting phenomena observed when sampling independent points from certain singular geometric spaces. The main result is a limit theorem -- the "sticky central limit theorem" -- which applies to the mean or barycenter of a family of independent samples as the number of samples grows. The theorem shows that the geometry of the underlying space may have an interesting effect on the asymptotic fluctuations of the sample means, in a way that does not occur with independent samples in Euclidean space. One motivation for thinking about statistics in singular geometric spaces comes from evolutionary biology; one can consider phylogenetic trees as points in a metric space of the sort discussed in this talk. Apart from this basic motivation, however, the talk will have little biological content and will be mainly about probability.

## Dan Forger : From a model network of 10,000 neurons to a smartphone app with >150,000 users: novel approaches to study daily timekeeping

- Mathematical Biology ( 145 Views )I will briefly describe mathematical models of networks of neurons and chemical reactions within neurons that generate daily (circadian) timekeeping. The numerical and analytical challenges of these models as well as the benefits in terms of biological predications will be highlighted. I will then explain how models can be used to find schedules that decrease the time needed to adjust to a new timezone by a factor of 2 or more. These optimal schedules have been implemented into a smartphone app, ENTRAIN, which collects data from users and in return helps them avoid jet-lag. We will use the data from this app to determine how the world sleeps. This presents a new paradigm in mathematical biology research where large-scale computing bridges the gap between basic mechanisms and human behavior and yields hypotheses that can be rapidly tested using mobile technology.

## Rodica Curtu : Mixed-Mode Activity Patterns in Neuronal Networks with Lateral Inhibition

- Mathematical Biology ( 141 Views )Stimulus tuning in a reduced model for neural competition leads to

## Cecilia Clementi : A multiscale approach to characterize macromolecular dynamics and functions

- Mathematical Biology ( 140 Views )A multiscale approach to characterize macromolecular dynamics and functions The understanding of emerging collective behaviors in biomolecular complexes represents a major challenge in modern biophysics. As a first step toward the study of such processes we have applied multi-resolution nonlinear dimensionality reduction and diffusion analysis to obtain reliable low-dimensional representations and models for the dynamics of apparently high-dimensional complex systems such as proteins in a biological environment. The results clearly show that the proposed methods can efficiently find low dimensional representations of a complex process such as protein folding.

## Joshua Vogelstein : Two-Sample Testing of Non-Euclidean (eg, Graph-Valued) Data via Manifold Learning

- Mathematical Biology ( 140 Views )Two-sample tests are an important class of problems in statistics, with abundant applications ranging from astrophysics to zoology. However, much of the previous art assumes the data samples live in finite dimensional Euclidean space. Here, we consider a foray into two-sample testing when the objects live in a non-Euclidean space, with special emphasis on graph valued observations. Via embedding each graph into Euclidean space, and then learning a manifold along which the reside, we demonstrate the existence of a test such that for a given confidence level alpha, we obtain power > alpha. Simulations and real data applications demonstrate the pragmatic utility of our approach even for very large graphs.

## Hans Othmer : A hybrid model of tumor-stromal interactions in breast cancer

- Mathematical Biology ( 139 Views )Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is an early stage non-invasive breast cancer that originates in the epithelial lining of the milk ducts, but it can evolve into comedo DCIS and ultimately, into the most common type of breast cancer, invasive ductal carcinoma. Understanding the progression and how to effectively intervene in it presents a major scientific challenge. The extracellular matrix surrounding a duct contains several types of cells and several types of growth factors that are known to individually affect tumor growth, but at present the complex biochemical and mechanical interactions of these stromal cells and growth factors with tumor cells is poorly understood. We will discuss a mathematical model that incorporates the cross-talk between stromal and tumor cells, and which can predict how perturbations of the local biochemical and mechanical state influence tumor evolution. We focus on the EGF and TGF-$\beta$ signaling pathways and show how up- or down-regulation of components in these pathways affects cell growth and proliferation, and describe a hybrid model for the interaction of cells with the tumor microenvironment. The analysis sheds light on the interactions between growth factors, mechanical properties of the ECM, and feedback signaling loops between stromal and tumor cells, and suggests how epigenetic changes in transformed cells affect tumor progression.

## Anita Layton : Myogenic Response to Systolic Pressure in the Afferent Arteriole

- Mathematical Biology ( 133 Views )Elevations in systolic blood pressure are believed to be closely linked to the pathogenesis and progression of renal diseases. It has been hypothesized that the afferent arteriole (AA) protects the glomerulus from the damaging effects of hypertension by sensing increases in systolic blood pressure and responding with a compensatory vasoconstriction. To investigate this hypothesis, we developed a mathematical model of the myogenic response of an AA smooth muscle cell, based on an arteriole model by Gonzalez-Fernandez and Ermentrout (Math Biosci 1994). renal hemodynamic regulation. The model incorporates ionic transport, cell membrane potential, contraction of the AA smooth muscle cell, and the mechanics of a thick-walled cylinder. The model represents a myogenic response based on a pressure-induced shift in the voltage dependence of calcium channel openings: with increasing transmural pressure, model vessel diameter decreases; and with decreasing pressure, vessel diameter increases. Further, the model myogenic mechanism includes a rate-sensitive component that yields constriction and dilation kinetics similar to behaviors observed in vitro. A parameter set is identified based on physical dimensions of an AA in a rat kidney. Model results suggest that the interaction of Ca2+ and K+ fluxes mediated by voltage-gated and voltage-calcium-gated channels, respectively, gives rise to periodicity in the transport of the two ions. This results in a time-periodic cytoplasmic calcium concentration, myosin light chains phosphorylation, and crossbridges formation with the attending muscle stress. Further, the model predicts myogenic responses that agree with experimental observations, most notably those which demonstrate that the renal AA constricts in response to increases in both steady and systolic blood pressures. The myogenic model captures these essential functions of the renal AA, and it may prove useful as a fundamental component in a multi-scale model of the renal microvasculature suitable for investigations of the pathogenesis of hypertensive renal diseases.

## Erica Graham : On the Road to Insulin Resistance: Modeling Oxidative Stress-Mediated Dysfunction in Skeletal Muscle

- Mathematical Biology ( 132 Views )Insulin resistance, a major factor in type 2 diabetes development, is a systemic defect characterized by reduced intracellular insulin signaling. Although there are many proposed causes of insulin resistance, the precise mechanisms that influence its long-term progression remain unclear. In this talk, we develop mathematical models to study the hypothesized role of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in skeletal muscle insulin resistance. Simulation results suggest that a perfect storm of environmental and genetic factors leading to oxidative stress can confer protection on the individual cell via insulin resistance.

## Mark Alber : Modeling elastic properties of cells and fibrin networks

- Mathematical Biology ( 131 Views )Viscoelastic interactions of Myxococcus xanthus cells in a low-density domain close to the edge of a swarm have been recently studied in [1] using a combination of a cell-based three-dimensional Subcellular Element (SCE) model [1,2] and cell-tracking experiments. The model takes into account the flexible nature of M. xanthus as well as the effects of adhesion between cells arising from the interaction of the capsular polysaccharide covering two cells in contact with each other. New image and dynamic cell curvature analysis algorithms were used to track and measure the change in cell shapes that occur as flexible cells undergo significant bending during collisions resulting in direct calibration of the model parameters. It will be shown in this talk that flexibility of cells and the adhesive cellâ??cell and cellâ??substrate interactions of M. xanthus together with cell to aspect-ratio and directional reversals [3], play an important role in smooth cell gliding and more efficient swarming. In the second part of the talk results of the analysis of the three dimensional structures of fibrin networks, with and without cells, reconstructed from two-dimensional z-stacks of confocal microscopy sections using novel image analysis algorithms, will be presented. These images were used to establish microstructure-based models for studying the relationship between the structural features and the mechanical properties of the fibrin networks in blood clots. The change in the fibrin network alignment under applied strain and the elastic modulus values will be shown to agree well with the experimental data [4]. 1. C.W. Harvey, F. Morcos, C.R. Sweet, D. Kaiser, S. Chatterjee, X. Lu, D. Chen and M. Alber [2011], Study of elastic collisions of M. xanthus in swarms, Physical Biology 8, 026016. 2. C.R. Sweet, S. Chatterjee, Z. Xu, K. Bisordi, E.D. Rosen and M. Alber [2011], Modeling Platelet-Blood Flow Interaction Using Subcellular Element Langevin Method, J R Soc Interface, 2011 May 18. [Epub ahead of print], doi: 10.1098/rsif.2011.0180. 3. Y. Wu, Y. Jiang, D. Kaiser and M. Alber [2009], Periodic reversal of direction allows Myxobacteria to swarm, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106 4 1222-1227. 4. E. Kim, O.V. Kim, K.R. Machlus, X. Liu, T. Kupaev, J. Lioi, A.S. Wolberg, D.Z. Chen, E.D. Rosen, Z. Xu and M. Alber [2011], Soft Matter 7, 4983-4992.

## Gregory Herschlag : Optimal reservoir conditions for material extraction across pumping and porous channels

- Mathematical Biology ( 127 Views )In this talk, I will discuss a new result in fluid flows through channels with permeable membranes with simple pumping dynamics. Fluid will be exchanged and metabolized in a simple reservoir and I will demonstrate the existence of optimal reservoir properties that may either maximize or minimized the amount of fluid being extracted across the channel walls. The biological relevance of this work may be seen by noting that all living organisms of a sufficient size rely on complex systems of tubular networks to efficiently collect, transport and distribute nutrients or waste. These networks exchange material with the interstitium via embedded channels leading to effective permeabilities across the wall separating the channel interior from the interstitium. In many invertebrates, for example, respiratory systems are made of complex tracheal systems that branch out through the entire body allowing for passive exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. In many of these systems, certain animals utilize various pumping mechanisms that alter the flow of the air or fluid being transported. Although the net effect of pumping of the averaged rates of fluid flow through the channel is typically well understood, it is still a largely open problem to understand how, and in what circumstances, pumping enables and enhances the exchange of material across channel walls. It has been demonstrated experimentally, for example, that when certain insects flap their wings, compression of the trachea allow for more efficient oxygen extraction, however it is unclear if this pumping is optimized for flight, oxygen uptake or neither, and understanding this problem quantitatively will shed insight on this biological process. Many of these interesting scenarios occur at low Reynolds number and this regime will be the focus of the presentation.

## Yuan Lou : Finding Evolutionarily Stable Strategies

- Mathematical Biology ( 126 Views )From habitat degradation and climate change to spatial spread of invasive species, dispersal plays a central role in determining how organisms cope with a changing environment. How should organisms disperse ?optimally? in heterogeneous environments? I will discuss some recent development on the evolution of dispersal, focusing on evolutionarily stable strategies (ESS) for dispersal.

## Casey Diekman : Data Assimilation and Dynamical Systems Analysis of Circadian Rhythmicity and Entrainment

- Mathematical Biology ( 126 Views )Circadian rhythms are biological oscillations that align our physiology and behavior with the 24-hour environmental cycles conferred by the Earth??s rotation. In this talk, I will discuss two projects that focus on circadian clock cells in the brain and the entrainment of circadian rhythms to the light-dark cycle. Most of what we know about the electrical activity of circadian clock neurons comes from studies of nocturnal (night-active) rodents, hindering the translation of this knowledge to diurnal (day-active) humans. In the first part of the talk, we use data assimilation and patch-clamp recordings from the diurnal rodent Rhabdomys pumilio to build the first mathematical models of the electrophysiology of circadian neurons in a day-active species. We find that the electrical activity of circadian neurons is similar overall between nocturnal and diurnal rodents but that there are some interesting differences in their responses to inhibition. In the second part of the talk, we use tools from dynamical systems theory to study the reentrainment of a model of the human circadian pacemaker following perturbations that simulate jet lag. We show that the reentrainment dynamics are organized by invariant manifolds of fixed points of a 24-hour stroboscopic map and use these manifolds to explain a rapid reentrainment phenomenon that occurs under certain jet lag scenarios.

## Michael Siegel : Elastic capsules in viscous flow

- Mathematical Biology ( 125 Views )Elastic capsules occur in nature in the form of cells and vesicles and are manufactured for biomedical applications. They are widely modeled but there are few analytical results. In this talk, complex variable techniques are used to derive semi-analytic solutions for the steady-state response and time-dependent evolution of elastic capsules in 2D Stokes flow. The analysis is complemented by spectrally accurate numerical simulations of the time-dependent evolution. One motivation for this work is to provide analytical solutions to help validate the accuracy of numerical methods for elastic membranes in flow. A second motivation is to clarify the steady response of capsules in some canonical flows. Finally, we investigate the formation of finite-time cusp singularities, of which there are only a few examples in interfacial Stokes flow, and where none involve elastic interfaces. This is joint work with Michael Booty and Michael Higley.

## Ezra Miller : Applying persistent homology to brain artery and vein imaging

- Mathematical Biology ( 125 Views )Persistent homology measures geometric structures using topological invariants. When the structures are magnetic resonance images of branching arteries, for example, persistent homology records the connectedness of an increasing subset of the vessels. Although the theory of persistent homology is relatively well developed, and many aspects of its behavior are understood in synthetic examples, only recently have applications to genuine experimental data begun. This talk explains what we have learned about the geometry of blood vessels in aging human brains, as well as lessons this exploration has taught us about applications of persistent homology in general. These lessons inform further potential applications of persistent homology in statistical problems from biological and medical imaging. The main results are joint with Paul Bendich, Steve Marron, Aaron Pieloch, and Sean Skwerer (Math junior faculty, Stat faculty, Math undergrad, and Operations Research grad student). The talk will be accessible to advanced mathematics and statistics undergraduates, medical and biological researchers, statistics and mathematics faculty, and everybody in between.