Stochastic hybrid models for DNA replication
Speaker: Prof. John Lygeros,ETH Zurich
Date: 18 May 2007 Time: 12:00-14:00
Location: "Meditarranean Studies" Seminar Room, FORTH, Heraklion, Crete.
Host: D. Tsakiris


In recent years several different approaches to modeling the dynamics of biological processes have been developed, under a field that has come to be known as Systems Biology.

Recently there has been a growing interest in the application of hybrid systems techniques to biological modeling and analysis, since it has been observed that several biological processes exhibit the interaction of continuous and discrete phenomena. It has also been recognized that many biological processes are intrinsically uncertain; stochastic phenomena have in fact been shown to be instrumental in improving the robustness of certain biological processes, or in inducing variability. In this talk we will describe the development of a stochastic hybrid model for DNA replication, one of the most fundamental processes behind the life of every cell.

We will discuss how the model was instantiated for the fission yeast and present analysis results that suggest that the predictions of the model do not match conventional biological wisdom and experimental evidence. Interestingly, the problem appears to be not in the model, but in conventional biological wisdom. This has motivated follow-on experiments (in vitro and in silico) to test two competing biological hypotheses that could explain the mismatch.


John Lygeros received a B.Eng. degree in electrical engineering and an M.Sc. degree in control from Imperial College, London, U.K., in 1990 and 1991, respectively. He then received a Ph.D. degree from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, in 1996.

He has held a series of postdoctoral research appointments with the National Automated Highway Systems Consortium, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley. In parallel, he was also a part-time Research Engineer with SRI International, Menlo Park, CA, and a Visiting Professor with the Department of Mathematics, Universite de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest, France. Between July 2000 and March 2003, he was a University Lecturer with the Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, U.K. and a Fellow of Churchill College.

Between March 2003 and July 2006, he was an Assistant Professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Patras, Patras, Greece. Since July 2006, he has been an Associate Professor with the Automatic Control Laboratory, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

His research interests include modeling, analysis, and control of hierarchical, hybrid and stochastic systems with applications to biochemical networks and large-scale engineering systems such as automated highways and air traffic management.

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