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The role of frustration in cell-fate network dynamics

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SPLW01 - Building a bridge between non-equilibrium statistical physics and biology

Recent research into the analysis of binary networks responsible for cell fate decisions (such as the epithelial-mesenchymal transition of relevance for cancer metastasis) have revealed that these networks exhibit frustration-free states which dominate the basins of attraction. Consequences of this fact for ODE versions of these processes include the collapse of dynamics onto a very small subset of relevant variables and the concomitant ability to coarse-grain otherwise unmanageably large systems.  This talk will review these findings and also present some new speculations regarding implications of this picture for the response of these systems to large perturbations, as might be relevant for a better understanding of the phenomenon of drug persistence.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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