Time and place: Friday, May 14, 3:30-4:00, 202 Chernoff Hall
Title: Integral Feedback Control in the Context of Synthetic Regulatory Gene Networks (½ hour)
Abstract: Living cells are highly specific entities; protein productions are carefully regulated through feedback-complete networks of dynamical protein-protein and protein-gene interactions. The complexity of these networks (think signal-wiring diagrams resembling modern circuit boards), inherent even within "simple" unicellular organisms, implies intricate behaviours that can be extremely difficult to resolve. Synthetic Biology - a relatively new field combining molecular biology and engineering in order to design and build ("synthesize") novel biological functions and systems - addresses this by considering deliberately simplified networks which serve to test models as well as act as controlling mechanisms inside cells.
As collective capabilities improve, synthetic biologists are beginning to apply the language of control theory in order to better understand and to better realize cellular control. In this brief talk, I will introduce the field of synthetic biology and discuss, in particular, sensory adaptation and its relation to feedback control. Furthermore, I will discuss important considerations and challenges associated with engineering an in-cell synthetic integral controller for the purpose of achieving perfect adaptation.