PS-OC Archive Seminars

Cancer attractors and cell population dynamics: The non-genetic, non-Darwinian (Lamarckian) evolution of cancer drug resistance

Cancer is a disruption of normal cell development. In the view of the quasi-potential landscape of gene networks, cancer arises because cells are pushed into developmentally inaccessible, evolutionary ancient “side-valleys” – the cancer attractors. I will present experiments supporting this alternative view and apply such non-genetic dynamics to show how Lamarckian (as opposed to Darwinian) dynamics initiates development of cancer drug resistance.

Cancer Complexity and the Problem of Causation

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US exceeded only by cardiovascular diseases. About 1.6 million people will be diagnosed with cancer (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers) and 580,000 people will die of the disease in 2013. A significant number of cancer deaths can be prevented by controlling smoking behaviors, alcohol consumption and exposure to certain viruses.

How Life Changes Itself: The Read- Write (RW) Genome

The genome has traditionally been treated as a Read-Only Memory (ROM) subject to change by copying errors and accidents. I propose that we need to change that perspective and understand the genome as an intricately formatted Read–Write (RW) data storage system constantly subject to cellular modifications and inscriptions.

The Complexity of Cancer Biospecimens: Understanding a Major Source of Irreproducible Results in Cancer Research

Cancer is a complex disease, the understanding of which is further challenged by the complexity of the biological samples that serve as disease surrogates for molecular study. Acquiring cancer biospecimens for study is, itself, governed by complex medical, ethical and legal issues. The samples, themselves, typically represent only small foci of a much larger and heterogeneous process that makes sampling bias an inescapable challenge

Exploring the Microbial World

Most of the diversity of life on earth is contained within the genomes of the planet’s microbes, including bacteria and particularly viruses, which infect every known form of cellular life on the planet. Arguably the most important biological realm for exploration is the microbial world on earth