Calendar Details

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Wednesday, October 10

Predictive Network Biology: Unearthing the Regulatory Genome

Nitin Baliga, Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle, Washington
Special Joint Institute for Biological Sciences—
Institute for Computational Sciences Seminar in Informational Biology
9:00 AM — 10:00 AM, Building 4500-N, Wigner Auditorium
Contact: Gary Sayler (, 865.241.1244


Integrated into the genomic blueprint of every organism are sets of instructions for turning up and down different combinations of biochemical processes to deal with challenges posed by a dynamically changing environment. These instructions are executed by an intricate network of response regulatory and signal relay systems that sense and process extracellular and intracellular environmental information into signals for gene regulation at multiple levels (transcriptional, post-transcriptional, translational, allosteric etc.). A significant fraction of these environmental signals are relayed via transcriptional factors (TFs) that bind to specific and short (6-20 nt) DNA sequences or gene regulatory elements (GREs) to modulate transcriptional activity at numerous loci throughout the genome.

Decoding mechanistically detailed regulatory programs in the form of conditional TF-GRE interactions has profound implications for understanding complex biological phenomena, innovating rational systems engineering through the merger of synthetic and systems biology, and ultimately revolutionizing the future of biotechnology and predictive medicine. In addition to presenting methods for decoding this information I will also discuss the theory and foundational principles for inferring predictive models of GRNs for any organism.

Brief Bio:
Dr. Baliga is Professor is in the Institute for Systems Biology and is a Faculty member in the Departments of Microbiology and Molecular and Cellular Biology Program at the University of Washington where he has been developing bioinformatic and systems research tools such as "Gaggle" and "Firegoose" for the analysis of large, complex, data sets of the post-genomic era. He is actively engaged in the DOE Systems Biology Knowledgebase, the LBNL led ENIGMA SFA, and the NIH Center for Systems Biology. He has been an invited participant at the Google SciFoo camp in 2008 and the 2009 DOE/ASCR planning committee for petascale computing needs in biology. He is the Section Editor for BMC Systems Biology and lead editor for Systems and Synthetic Biology of Archaea.