<b>Department Colloquia</b><br>How Cells Make Decisions and What Does Physics Have to Say About It<br><b>Speaker: Jane Kondev (Brandeis University)</br></b>
Speaker: Jane Kondev (Brandeis University)
Cells make decisions all the time about what to eat, where to go, and what to become. At the heart of cellular decision making is gene regulation, the process by which cells selectively turn their genes on and off in response to environmental cues. Recent experiments have begun to probe gene regulation inside cells at the single molecule level, revealing the physical nature of this key biological process in quantitative detail. In this talk I will review these experimental advances and the theoretical models that have been put forth to greet them. I will emphasize how this interplay of theory and experiments has revealed interesting surprises about some of the best studied models of gene regulation, such as the lac operon in E.coli.