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Science at the Edge Seminar

Speaker:  Pankaj Metha, Department of Physics, Boston University

Title: Understanding Emergent Behaviors in Biology: From Cell Fate to Microbial Ecosystems

Refreshments at 11:15 am.

View Speaker Schedule*

Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2017, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Type: Seminar

Location: 1400 BPS Bldg.

Biology is full of stunning examples of emergent behaviors – behaviors that arise from, but cannot be reduced to, the interactions of the constituent parts that make up the system under consideration. These behaviors span the full spectrum of length scales, from the emergence of distinct cell fates (e.g., neurons, muscle, etc.) due to the interactions of genes within cells, to the formation of complex ecological communities arising from the interactions of thousands of species. I will discuss examples from our group showing how we are using ideas from statistical mechanics to try to understand emergent behavior in biology focusing on two examples: (a) the dynamics of cellular reprogramming and (b) the emergence of complex microbial communities.

* Interested parties wishing to sign up to meet the speaker please contact Lerena Heintzelman (