Theory of Living Systems Webinar Series

Modern approaches to research in the life sciences are more quantitative than they have ever been.  Across a broad spectrum of fields, the precision, fidelity, and resolution of available data only continues to improve year on year.  This has so far proved transformative, leading to an increasing role for theory and computation, and raising the prospect of truly integrated approaches to the study of animate, living systems.

The Theory of Living Systems is a webinar series based out of Australia and New Zealand.  The aim is to promote cutting edge research at the interface of theory, computation and life science.

Speakers address a broad range of traditional disciplines, including (but not limited to) biophysics, systems biology, mathematical ecology, active matter, computational neuroscience, collective behaviour, and much more.

Join us online and discover more.  Please note the different starting times due to time zone issues between Australia and Europe.

20 October @ 2:30pm 

Mukund Thattai

National Centre for Biological Science (NCBS), Bangalore, India

Graph-theoretic constraints on vesicle traffic networks

Register now 

Abstract: Eukaryotic cells use small membrane-enclosed vesicles to transport molecular cargo between intracellular compartments. Interactions between molecules on vesicles and compartments determine the source and target compartment of each vesicle type. The set of compartment and vesicle types in a cell define the nodes and edges of a transport graph known as the vesicle traffic network. The transmembrane SNARE proteins that regulate vesicle fusion to target compartments travel in cycles through the transport graph, but the paths they follow must be tightly regulated to avoid aberrant vesicle fusion. Here we use graph-theoretic ideas to understand how such molecular con-straints place constraints on the structure of the transport graph. We identify edge connectivity (the minimum number of edges that must be removed to disconnect a graph) as a key determinant that separates allowed and disallowed types of transport graphs. As we increase the flexibility of molecular regulation, the required edge connectivity de-creases, so more types of vesicle transport graphs are allowed. These results can be used to aid the discovery of new modes of molecular regulation and new vesicle traffic pathways.


3 November @ 10am 

Andela Saric

University College London (UCL), UK

Register now 


17 November @ 9am 

Carles Blanch-Mercarder 

University of Geneva, Switzerland

Register now 


1 December @ 9am

Anne-Florence Bitbol

Ecole Polytechnique Federale Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

Register now