Wednesday, May 17, 2017
5:00 pm
Beckman Institute Auditorium – Beckman Institute

“A hidden dimension in cell-cell communication”

Everhart Lecture Series
Sandy Nandagopal, Biology and Biological Engineering, Caltech

Multicellular organisms like us start as single cells, but develop into entities composed of a tremendous variety of cell types that are precisely distributed throughout the body. This is the result of a beautifully coordinated process of cell proliferation, differentiation, and death that occurs during development. Such coordination is achieved through communication among cells, which signal to one another by means of a small set of 'signaling pathways'. Cells benefit from being able to transmit more information through signaling pathways, but are limited by biological noise and evolutionary constraints. I will discuss how the Notch signaling pathway, which is critical to the development and proper functioning of nearly every animal tissue, can partly overcome these limitations by encoding information in the dynamics of signaling and subsequently decoding it. Much like the coding schemes we are familiar with, such as Morse code, this process effectively expands the number of messages that cells can exchange with each other through a single 'communication channel', the Notch pathway. The discovery of this hidden dynamic dimension to cell-cell communication has implications for understanding how it works during development and fixing it when it fails in disease.


Refreshments served at 4:30PM.

The Everhart Lecture Series is a forum encouraging interdisciplinary interaction among graduate students and faculty, the sharing of ideas about research developments, as well as a space to discuss controversies.  Everhart Lectures allow for the recognition of individual Caltech student's exemplary presentation and research abilities.  Lecturers discuss scientific topics and research topics of concern to graduate students and faculty.

Each Fall, graduate student lecturers are selected to present their ideas as part of a series of lectures.

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