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Mathematical Biology Seminar

February 22, 2023 - 10:30am

Speaker: Amanda Alexander, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Houston
Title: Mathematical models of reaction-subdiffusion systems and plasmid partitioning in dividing cell populations
Abstract: In this talk we will discuss two projects with the goal of developing new mathematical and computational techniques to address the complexity in modeling molecular processes and connecting these processes to the cell population scale.
Project 1: Experiments show that molecules in cells can exhibit anomalous subdiffusion instead of normal diffusion. Whereas reaction-diffusion equations are a well-known area of research in mathematical biology, the analogous reaction-subdiffusion equations are understudied. We will derive evolution equations for a reaction-subdiffusion system with species-dependent movement and apply the model to the Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP) assay. We then discuss the degree to which our reaction-subdiffusion equations explain FRAP data and compare this result to regular reaction-diffusion equations.
Project 2: We will extend the idea of analyzing complex intracellular dynamics to the replication, clustering, and partitioning of DNA plasmids in synthetic E. coli cells. We will introduce a simulation approach to incorporate these molecular dynamics into a population scale model of plasmid partitioning in dividing cells. We conclude with a discussion of mathematically tractable models of plasmid loss in an age structured population of cells and other future directions.