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Chemotaxis. Do we understand it all?

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Abstract: Chemotaxis behavior in microbes constitutes a simple form of behavior, making it an interesting model system to understand molecular basis of decision-making. More than 30 years of research in Escherichia coli has allowed a very detailed understanding of chemotaxis in this species and how it is mediated at molecular level. However, it is not clear how applicable these findings are for our understanding of taxis behavior in diverse bacteria. Results from few other bacteria show that both response dynamics and molecular mechanisms can differ from the E. coli paradigm. The talk will illustrate how an evolutionary approach could help achieve a more global understanding of taxis behavior in bacteria. In particular, we will explore the use of in silico evolution combined with detailed mathematical modeling to unravel the possible molecular mechanisms involved in taxis behavior of diverse bacteria.

Biography: Orkun S. Soyer was born in Istanbul, Turkey on 5 July 1975. After studying Chemistry at Bogazici University, he received a PhD from the University of Michigan under the mentorship of Prof. Dr. Richard A. Goldstein. During his PhD thesis, Orkun co-developed a site-class model of protein evolution and applied this model to the analysis of protein sequences, specifically G-Protein Coupled Receptors and Transporters. From April 2004 until September 2006, Orkun was a postdoctoral researcher in the Theoretical Biology Group of Prof. Dr. Sebastian Bonhoeffer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich. His work during this period concentrated on the modeling of biological pathways, with a specific emphasis on questions related to their evolution. Orkun expanded on this line of research since joining CoSBi in September 2006. He publishes in internationally recognized journals and regularly acts as a reviewer.

This talk is part of the CoSBi Computational and Systems Biology Series series.

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