5th International Synthetic & Systems Biology Summer School   |   Certosa di Pontignano - Siena - Tuscany - Italy   |  July 25-29, 2018

Lecture 1: From Networks to Function – Computational Models of Organogenesis

Lecture 1: From Networks to Function – Computational Models of Organogenesis

One of the major challenges in biology concerns the integration of data across length and time scales into a consistent framework: how do macroscopic properties and functionalities arise from the molecular regulatory networks – and how do they evolve? Morphogenesis provides an excellent model system to study how simple molecular networks robustly control complex pattern forming processes on the macroscopic scale in spite of molecular noise, and how important functional variants can evolve from small genetic changes. Recent advances in 3D imaging technologies, computer algorithms, and computer power now allow us to develop and analyse increasingly realistic models of biological control.

In my first lecture, I will focus on the image-based simulation of lung and kidney development. The branched trees of lungs, kidneys and many glands provide a fascinating example of complex shape formation. I will introduce the concept of the Turing mechanism and show how Turing patterns can arise from molecular interactions to control branching morphogenesis. I will then discuss the detailed properties of Turing mechanisms, and how to simulate those Turing models on growing domains.