CCB Seminar: Yuhai Tu

Date & Time

Topic: Nonequilibrium Statistical Physics of Biochemical Oscillators: Phase Accuracy, Entrainability, and Synchronization

Abstract: A central question in biology is how living systems manage to process information and perform vital functions (replication, gene regulation, development, signaling, etc.) accurately by using inherently noisy biochemical components and reactions. What are the molecular mechanisms for control? What are the design principles for the underlying biochemical networks? What are the energy costs for regulation? In this talk, we will present some of our recent work in addressing these general questions in the context of biochemical oscillators from a nonequilibrium thermodynamics perspective. We will first briefly describe two previous work on the molecular mechanism and energy cost for enhancing phase accuracy of biochemical oscillators [1], and the design principles for oscillatory biochemical networks to achieve both high entrainability and low phase fluctuations [2]. We will then focus on discussing our most recent work on the nonequilibrium thermodynamics of synchronization of coupled molecular clocks [3].

[1] “The free-energy cost of accurate biochemical oscillations”, Y. Cao, H. Wang, Q. Ouyang, and Yuhai Tu, Nature Physics, 11, 772, 2015.

[2] “Design principles for enhancing phase sensitivity and suppressing phase fluctuations simultaneously in biochemical oscillatory systems”, C. Fei, Y. Cao, Q. Ouyang, and Yuhai Tu, Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/s41467-018-03826-4, 2018.

[3] “Nonequilibrium thermodynamics of coupled molecular oscillators: The energy cost and optimal design for synchronization”, Dongliang Zhang, Y. Cao, Q. Ouyang, and Yuhai Tu, Nature Physics, 10.1038/s41567-019-0701-7, 2019.

About the Speaker

Yuhai Tu graduated from the Special Class of the Gifted Young at University of Science and Technology of China in 1987. He came to the US under the CUSPEA program and received his PhD in physics from University of California, San Diego in 1991. He was a Division Prize Fellow at Caltech from 1991-1994. He joined IBM Watson Research Center as a Research Staff Member in 1994 and served as head of the theory group during 2003-2015. He has been an APS Fellow since 2004 and served as the APS Division of Biophysics (DBIO) Chair in 2017. He is awarded the 2020 Lars Onsager Prize from APS: “For seminal work on the theory of flocking that marked the birth and contributed greatly to the development of the field of active matter.”

Yuhai Tu has broad research interests, which include pattern formation and nonlinear dynamics in nonequilibrium systems, surface physics, bioinformatics, biophysics, computational neuroscience, and recently machine learning. He has made many original contributions in these areas such as the Toner-Tu equation in flocking theory, the growth dynamics of the Si-aSiO2 interface, Genes@Work pattern discovery algorithm for RNA microarray gene expression analysis, the standard model of bacterial chemotaxis, and the energy-speed-accuracy tradeoff in sensory adaptation, biochemical oscillation, and synchronization.

November 18, 2019

Yuhai Tu: Nonequilibrium Statistical Physics of Biochemical Oscillators: Phase Accuracy, Entrainability, and Synchronization

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