Talk by Leah Keshet, Department of Mathematics and 2009 Distinguished Scholar in Residence
Many types of animal cells have the capacity to move by crawling. These include amoebae, white blood cells, and other cells responsible for healing wounds (e.g. fibroblasts, keratocytes). Typically, after a directional stimulus such as a chemical gradient, a resting cell becomes polarized, changes its shape, and starts to crawl in the given direction. Cell motility stems from constant remodeling of, and propulsive forces exerted by biopolymers that form the internal "skeleton" of the cell (called the cytoskeleton, and largely composed of actin), regulated by a complex biochemical "signaling" network, whose details are gradually being elucidated experimentally. In the face of emerging complexity, it is challenging to appreciate which elements/features are central, and which are secondary, which parts of the system control key aspects of cell locomotion, and how the elements work together in space and time. In this talk, I will highlight how mathematical modeling can help to address these issues. The models act as a tool to help bridge the gap between one scale (e.g. interacting molecules) and another (cell behaviour).
Dinner and talk 6:30 to 9:00 pm, but welcome at 6:00 pm reception.