Controlling structure in living cells: from cellular size control systems to CellCAD
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
306 Soda Hall (HP Auditorium)
4:00 – 5:00 pm
Director, Center for Cellular Construction
University of California, San Francisco
Living cells are complex self-organizing machines in which different biochemical reactions are compartmentalized in membrane-enclosed chambers. Biotechnology, especially metabolic engineering, has long sought to harness the living cell as a microscopic chemical factory, but almost all the effort to date has been directed at manipulating the chemistry of the cell, and the physical structure of the cell has largely been ignored from an engineering perspective. This first part of this presentation will discuss the control systems that the cell uses to control the size of its structures, focusing on the flagellum as a model system. The remainder of the presentation will describe efforts to implement a computer aided design system for cellular structure, using model-based and data-driven strategies, and the lessons that we have learned from this effort.
Wallace Marshall is Director of the Center for Cellular Construction, an NSF funded Science and Technology Center devoted to engineering cellular structure and function. He is professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California San Francisco. He was originally trained as an electrical engineer (B.E. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook) after which he pursued Ph.D. studies at UCSF using image analysis methods to study the behavior of chromosomes inside living cells. He has coached a FIRST Lego League robotics team for several years, and one of his hobbies is building autonomous sumo robots.