In a cross-disciplinary effort, Notre Dame biology and mathematics professors have published a study on stathmin, a key protein in the cytoskeleton, demonstrating the success of mathematical computer modeling and lab work in photographing of stathmin.Notre Dame associate professor of biochemistry Holly Goodson recently published the study in conjunction with professor of applied mathematics Mark Alber. “Mark Alber’s lab specializes in doing biological modeling and they had already approached us about the possibility of trying to put something together with this,” Goodson said. “We’ve actually been working on this for quite a long time. The models had to start very simply and we’ve built complexity over time.”In developing the mathematical model, Goodson said the goal was to create a system that was not overly complex. “The first thing we’re looking for is just general behavior,” she said. “Then you can add extra levels of details to make it more precise. One of the main things you can get out of something like this is to figure out what really matters.”Using computational models in a systems biology approach indirectly tests and observes conceptual models of the dynamic subcellular system, Goodson said. Although electron microscopes can capture images nanometers in size, such pictures are often incomplete, she said.“It’s like trying to understand a football game: if you’re trying to figure out football from a hundred random snapshots of the game, you would never see anything interesting,” Goodson said. “You would never see a touchdown, it would never happen. That’s kind of like electron microscopy: it’s hard to figure out what’s really going from these snapshots frozen in time.”Stathmin plays a crucial role in the destruction and uptake of microtubules, Goodson said, a dynamic, continuous process that is difficult to track. Her lab formulated conceptual ideas for the mechanism of this process, Goodman said, and obtained only limited evidence by traditional biochemical means.“It was frustrating because we couldn’t really figure out how to test if these ideas were correct,” Goodson said. “It goes back to the saying that you don’t really understand something until you can predict it quantitatively. “It’s too complicated a system to write down mathematical models — all we really know is how the individual pieces interact, but we don’t really know how that would give rise to specific predictions about the behavior of the system other than that ‘it grows’ or ‘it falls apart.’”Goodson said she studied computational biology as a rotation student working on modeling protein folding in the lab of Michael Levitt, one of the winners of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.Goodson said she believes computational and interdisciplinary approaches are the way of the future in biology, as shown by joint efforts of Notre Dame’s biochemistry and mathematics departments.“This is an example of why it’s important for people in a variety of sciences to be learning something about biology because there’s a lot of science that’s going to be done in the next 20 years or so at this interface between biology and the other sciences,” she said.Tags: Biological Modeling
Portuguese pay TV company Zon Multimedia plans to introduce individual profiles for different family members and users within a household as a future iteration of its next-generation Iris advanced TV service, according to José Alberto Pascoal, head of operations and infrastructure management at Zon.Taking part in the international technology summit at the ANGA Cable congress yesterday, Pascoal said Zon also wanted to add social networking with Facebook integration to its Iris service. Iris was initially bundled with Zon’s 100Mbps offering. To increase take up it has now lowered the speed requirement, which Pascoal said had significantly boosted take-up of the service.Referring to Zon’s experience of connected TV to date, Pascoal said, “Smart TV needs to be standardised or it will die”. Zon introduced a smart TV widget on an LG TV model but Pascoal said the company was frustrated by the fact it had to develop a new app for each model.
Polish pay TV operator ‘n’ needs to find ways to increase video-on-demand use and is also mulling ways to monetise its penetration of DVR-enabled set-tops, according to Jan Frelek, head of business development at ITI Neovision, the company that operates the platform.Speaking at the Digital TV CEE event in Prague last week, Frelek said that only 12% of ‘n’’s TV customers with access to VOD used it once a week or more, compared with 22% using the VOD service on the internet and 42% of those with DVRs using that device once a week or more. He said that about 88% of customers that took both pay TV and online services were aware of what VOD meant, but only 32% of pay TV-only customers knew what it was.About 47% of ‘n’ customers have access to VOD, with about 12% taking up subscription VOD and 2% using transactional VOD service.Frelek said there were a number of ways in which the company could possibly monetise its high level – 61% – of DVR penetration. These included selling premium recording capacity and network DVR services, remote scheduling and predictive recording.