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Tuesday, January 14, 2014, 02:00pm


carlo piermarocchi 1Dr. Carlo Piermarocchi

Professor, Physics Dept, Michigan State University

"Exploring the Control Landscape of Complex Biological Systems"

Abstract: The notion of “landscape” represents a useful concept, commonly used in the quantitative analysis of many complex systems encountered in physics, biology, computer science, and engineering. A slightly different idea is that of “control landscapes”, which do not represent the internal states of a system, but only aim at characterizing its response to a set of external control parameters.

In this seminar, I will discuss how to best navigate the control landscape of cancer cell lines and optimize their in vitro response to multi-drug combinations. We have experimentally implemented an iterative high-throughput screening scheme that employs combinatorial stochastic optimization algorithms to suggest the best candidate combinations to be used after each iteration. I will discuss “uninformed” methods, in which no a priori information about the system is assumed, and “informed” methods, in which gene signaling networks provide an underlying model that helps in the iterative optimization process. The network signaling models are based on a bistable Boolean spin attractor model, in which the spins evolve towards stored attractor patterns representing cells trapped in cancer or normal states.

Bio: Dr. Carlo Piermarocchi is a professor of physics at Michigan State University. He obtained his PhD in theoretical physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1998. After a postdoctoral period at UC San Diego, he joined the faculty at Michigan State University in 2002. He has been a Donald D. Harrington faculty fellow at UT Austin in 2006 and has spent as sabbatical period at the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute in CA in 2012. His research interests include condensed matter theory, quantum information, and control theory in quantum and biological systems.


Hosted by: Physics & Astronomy Dept, SSP Division of EECS Dept

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014 at 2pm in Tech Room F160


Location Tech F160
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 02:00pm
Contact Lana Kiperman, 846-467-0028,

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