Tuesday, March 24, 2015 (3:00 p.m. in Yost 306)
Title: Cellular Telephone Games: How Biological Networks Cope With Noisy Signal Transmission
Speaker: Michael Hinczewski (Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University Physics Department)
Abstract: Living cells make crucial decisions — whether to grow, divide, die — based on external signaling molecules in their environment. The biochemical networks which transmit and amplify these signals from receptors on the cell surface are like an elaborate game of telephone: with each stage of the transmission, information is lost through the random nature of the underlying reactions. In this talk, we will discuss how ideas from statistical physics and signal processing, particularly the theory of Wiener-Kolmogorov filters, can help us understand the fundamental constraints on biological signaling. In the process, we illuminate the striking costs of transmitting even a single bit of information through the tumult of the cell.