January 5, 2010

Dynamics Days, Day 2 Morning

Day 2 of Dynamics Days is halfway over. A couple of interesting (and biologially relevant) talks in the morning sessions:

Jonathan Widom (Northwestern) delivered what ws probably the best talk of the morning on nucleosomes positioning. Apparently, nucleosomes use their own code(embedded in the genome) to find stretches of double helix to bind to. Even better, it seems as though transcription factors and nucleosomes compete for stratches of DNA to bind, with the former binding evolutionarily-conserved promoters and the latter having a preference for promoters tht no longer have a function.

Chris Fall (UIC) deviered a really interesting talk on mitochondrial modulation of Calcium channels, a function normally ascribed to endoplasmic reticulum. The mitochondria is becoming incresingly acknowledged as a complex system, and Chris' talk took that trend a couple of additional steps forward.

Both the Widom and Fall talks hinted that the mechanisms behind their respective topics were cell-type specific. Being a cellular reprogrammer, this piqued my curiosity somewhat. Perhaps these are things to look at in cells that have been reprogrammed to pluripotency.

Two other talks of note dealt with the collective behavior of cell populations. Actually, the last talk of yesterday (by Raymond Goldstein from Cambridge) also dealt with this topic. Harry Swinney told us about growth inhibition in bacteria, and Wolfgang Losert had some intriguing things to say about cell motility (in particular some video of would healing and migration in skin cells).

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