Spatio-temporal control of aberrant protein aggregation

6 Dec
Widely Applied Mathematics Seminar
Thomas Michaels
Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Pierce 209

Protein aggregation has been implicated in over 50 diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Type-II diabetes [1]. In this talk, I will discuss how theory can guide us in the development of rational strategies for controlling aberrant protein aggregation in time and space. I will start off by bringing together protein aggregation kinetics with optimal control theory to determine explicit optimal administration protocols of drugs that inhibit specific molecular events during the aggregation process [2]. I will demonstrate the efficacy of this strategy with experimental data on Alzheimer’s disease in the model organism C. elegans. In a second part of the talk, I will introduce ideas from liquid-liquid phase separation to investigate how liquid cellular compartments could be implicated in spatially regulating protein aggregation [3].


[1] Michaels et al. Annu. Rev. Phys. Chem. 69, 273-298 (2018). [2] Michaels, Weber, Mahadevan, bioRxiv:456590. [3] Weber, Michaels, Mahadevan, arXiv:1809.03472.

Speaker Bio: 

I am a Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at SEAS, Harvard University conducting research with Prof. L. Mahadevan on theoretical aspects of biomolecular self-assembly. Prior to this, I obtained a PhD in Biophysical Chemistry from the University of Cambridge, and I completed in parallel two distinct undergraduate degrees in Physics and Mathematics at ETH Zurich.

Host: 
Prof. Maha
Contact: 
Vamsi Arza