“Systems Biology of Cardiac Disease”

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017 | 4:00 - 5:00 PM Add to Calendar

The Center for Theoretical Biological Physics PRESENTS Special Seminar Speaker

Dr. Alain Karma
Distinguished Professor
Department of Physics
College of Science
Northeastern University

“Systems Biology of Cardiac Disease”

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
4:00 – 5:00 PM
BioScience Research Collaborative, Room 1060 A/B

Abstract: The traditional approach to investigate the genetic basis of complex diseases is to identify “differentially expressed genes,” which are genes that exhibit an average change in expression when comparing two populations of diseased and healthy individuals. Whether those genes have significance, however, is still unclear because both differentially expressed genes and disease phenotype may vary greatly between individuals in a genetically diverse population. Here, we develop a personalized, multi-omics approach to identify genes underlying complex diseases and test it in the setting of cardiac hypertrophy. We exploit the Hybrid Mouse Diversity Panel (HMDP), a model system consisting of >100 genetically diverse inbred strains of mice. Because mice from the same strains are isogenic and renewable, the HMDP offers a unique experimental platform to analyze differential gene expression and phenotype change in a setting where a subject in the control population can be matched to a subject with the same genetic background in the disease population. We use this platform to identify genes whose expression fold-change correlates in a statistically significant way with the severity of the disease. We find that those genes are either up- or down-regulated across strains, and therefore missed by the traditional population-wide analysis of differential gene expression. We discuss experimental tests of this approach and implications for dynamical modeling of diseases.

Bio: Alain Karma received his PhD degree in Physics from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1985 and was subsequently a Weingart Fellow in Theoretical Physics at Caltech for three years before joining Northeastern University in 1988, where he is Professor of Physics and Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor. His research focuses on the development of theoretical approaches rooted in statistical and nonlinear physics to study complex dynamical systems of interest in the materials and biological sciences. He is an APS fellow and has won several awards. He has an h-index of 72 and over 20,000 citations to his published work.

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BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC), 10th Floor, Room 1060 A/B

6500 Main St, Houston, TX 77030


Lisa Bennett