Hidden Interactions in Resource-limited Genetic Circuits

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 | 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Add to Calendar

The Center for Theoretical Biological Physics PRESENTS Seminar Speaker Dr. Domitilla Del Vecchio Associate Professor Department of Mechanical Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2017 12:30 – 1:30 PM BRC, 10TH FLOOR, ROOM 1060 A/B Abstract: Synthetic genetic circuits are “powered” by cellular resources, which are found in limited amounts. The sharing of these resources by different circuit components often hampers the functionality of circuits. In this talk, I will illustrate that because nodes in a genetic network compete for limited resources, hidden interactions arise that lead to unexpected emergent network’s behavior. I will present a systematic and low dimensional modeling framework that captures hidden interactions and restores the predictive power of design-oriented models. This modeling framework empowers us with simple graphical rules to predict emergent interaction graphs and with design criteria to minimize the strength of hidden interactions. Experimental results in bacteria validate the model predictions. Finally, with the aim of modularly designing synthetic genetic circuits in which the effects of hidden interactions is mitigated, I will briefly illustrate a distributed feedback control scheme that makes each node robust to fluctuations of available resources, thus aiding modular composition of genetic circuits. Bio: Domitilla Del Vecchio received the Ph.D. degree in Control and Dynamical Systems from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, and the Laurea degree in Electrical Engineering (Automation) from the University of Rome at Tor Vergata in 2005 and 1999, respectively. From 2006 to 2010, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and in the Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 2010, she joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she is currently an Associate Professor and member of the Synthetic Biology Center (SBC). She is a recipient of the Prof. Amar G. Bose Research Award from MIT (2016), the Donald P. Eckman Award from the American Automatic Control Council (2010), the NSF Career Award (2007), the Crosby Award from University of Michigan (2007), the American Control Conference Best Student Paper Award (2004), and the Banca d’Italia Fellowship (2000). Her research focuses on the application of control and dynamical systems theory to the engineering of robust synthetic biology circuits for a number of applications, including biosensing and cell fate reprogramming.


BioScience Research Collaborative, Room 1060 A/B

6500 Main St.


Lisa Bennett