Speaker Abstracts

All speaker abstracts and talk titles will be posted as they become available.

Michael Stone

Title: The role of DNA quadruplex structures in telomere biology: Finding a Black Cat in a Dark Room.

Celina Juliano

Title: Mechanisms of Development and Regeneration in Hydra (recommend reading)


The adult Hydra continually renews all cells using lineage-restricted adult stem cells and can regenerate its entire body from a small piece of tissue. Both homeostatic maintenance and regeneration requires the coordination of three non-overlapping stem cell differentiation pathways. This complexity of cell fate specification pathways is combined with a simple tissue structure and a small number of total cell types. This unique combination of traits in Hydra allows us to use single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) to capture the spectrum of cell states at high molecular resolution and use this information to decipher the stem cell differentiation pathways of multiple distinct lineages. We sequenced the transcriptomes of ~25,000 Hydra cells and identified the molecular signatures of cell states, from stem cells to terminally differentiated cells. We constructed differentiation trajectories for each lineage and identified the transcription factors expressed along these trajectories, thus creating a multi-lineage map of an adult organism. These data provide a significant starting point to unravel the gene regulatory networks (GRNs) that control cell differentiation in the homeostatic Hydra. To understand how these GRNs are triggered by the conserved injury response during regeneration, we have collected RNA-seq and ATAC-seq data on regenerating tissues. These data reveal that injury-induced transcription factors may directly activate the transcription of Wnt pathway genes, which are key factors in establishing a new head organizer. Altogether, we provide a comprehensive molecular description of Hydra homeostatic and regenerative development, which is a valuable resource for tackling fundamental questions in developmental and regenerative biology.

Aaron Diaz

Title: The dynamics of RNA transcription during the malignant progression of glioma (recommend reading)

Sunčica Čanić

Title: Fluid-structure interaction in biological fluids (recommend reading)


This talk will review mathematical and computational challenges in studying fluid-structure interaction in biological fluids. Applications to modeling drug-eluting stents for coronary angioplasty with stenting, optimal design of bioartificial pancreas for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes, optimal design of micro-swimmers, and to the study of emergent behaviors of colloidal suspensions, will be addressed.