Researchers publish cross-disciplinary biological study

first_imgIn 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 Modelinglast_img read more

Walden victorious in Chengdu

first_img It was the Chester player’s third ranking title, all in China after winning the 2008 Shanghai Masters and 2012 Wuxi Classic. It capped a fine week for Walden, who hammered Robert Milkins 9-2 in his semi-final after previous wins over Lyu Chenwei, David Morris, Zhou Yuelong and giant-killers Joe Swail and Jamie Burnett, who had beaten Neil Robertson and Judd Trump respectively. Press Association Breaks of 59 and 64 helped him into a 3-1 lead at the interval in the first session but Allen levelled after a 113 break in frame six. The next four were shared, Allen with a 52 in frame nine, and though Walden moved two clear with the help of an 85 break in frame 12 Allen responded with 68 and 74 to leave the match poised at 7-7. The Englishman found another gear, though, with an 85 in frame 15 followed by a 103 to move within one frame of victory. And he clinched the frame in two visits, a 54 putting him on top before a 62 saw him capture the £125,000 first prize. Runner-up Allen collected £65,000 towards his world ranking. Walden said: “I couldn’t be happier. It was a tough first session today, and then I got better in the second session. “It’s a dream come true to win this event. All three of my titles have come in China and I love playing here.” He told “I’ve not thought about the money. It was just so important for me to get my hands on the trophy. The money is just a bonus. My wife will find a good place for it.” For Allen, who overcame Mark Williams 9-8 in a thrilling semi-final, it was a third defeat in four ranking finals this season. He won the Paul Hunter Classic in Furth but was beaten at the Riga Open and Shanghai Masters. He said: “I didn’t come here to finish second. I’ll probably look back in a few months’ time and think I’ve had a great start to the season but I’ve lost three out of four finals and that’s not good enough. It’s something I have to work on. “I need to go back to the practice table and keep working. I’m obviously doing the right things as I have got to four finals. I just need to turn them into victories.” center_img Ricky Walden continued his love affair with China as he won the International Championship in Chengdu, beating Mark Allen 10-7 in the final.last_img read more