Feedback Control in Biological

Signaling Pathways


Professor Pablo A. Iglesias
Johns Hopkins University

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Biological signaling pathways are composed of large "networks" of interconnected molecular components, many of which involve considerable feedback and are highly nonlinear.  The subsystems comprising the network are subject to control by many independent events, and thus defy attempts to describe clear cut cause-and-effect relationships. Because of these features, the complete understanding of how these systems work presents a problem of daunting complexity to researchers.  The traditional approach has been to "break" these networks into their components to study them separately.  This reductionist paradigm has led to many breakthroughs, but alone cannot provide a full understanding of the system.  Only recently has it begun to be appreciated that new techniques and approaches are needed to understand these networks.  Feedback control theory is commonly used in engineering practice as a means of regulating man-made systems.  In this talk we discuss how a study of biological signaling pathways using the tools of control systems may lead to special insight into our understanding of how biology works.


Friday, September 27, 2002

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

1500 EECS