Plenary Speaker

Greg Forest
UNC Chapel Hill

Grant Dahlstrom Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering & Applied Physical Sciences Director, Carolina Center for Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics. Co-Director and PI, NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) in Biomedicine Graduate Training Program.

Title: Molecular-to-micron scale experiments and the role of mathematics in "big data to knowledge" in biology and biomedicine

I begin by showing remarkable experimental capabilities of collaborators across molecular biology and biomedicine, illustrating the types of data we have access to now and in the near future, and the fundamental question of our colleagues: "what knowledge lies within this rich data pool?" We present movies and data of: microbead probes in human lung mucus from the David Hill lab, ~5K base pair fluorescent domains of chromosomal DNA in living yeast nuclei from the Kerry Bloom lab, and viruses and bacteria in antibody-laden human mucus from the Sam Lai lab. We pose variants of "the fundamental question" for each experimental dataset: are there clinically detectable signatures of lung disease independent of symptoms? how is the genome organized, spatially and temporally? what molecular players and processes determine the fate of a viral exposure? The primary goal of this lecture is to highlight examples of the interplay between experimental data and mathematics, statistics, and computation. Collaborators in addition to Hill, Bloom, and Lai include Martin Lysy and Yun Ling (Waterloo), Scott McKinley and Melanie Jensen (Tulane), Paula Vasquez and Erik Palmer (So. Carolina), Alex Chen (General Electric), Natesh Pillai (Harvard), Jay Newby, Ian Seim, Feifei Xu, David Adalsteinsson, Tim Wessler, Caitlin Hult, Josh Lawrimore, Yunyan He (UNC).