Mathematical Biology Seminar: Oleg Igoshin (Rice University)

  • Date: 03/03/2011
Oleg Igoshin, Dept. of Bioengineering, Rice University

University of British Columbia


Uncovering self-organization mechanisms in Myxococcus xanthus swarms with modeling and image processing


Myxococcus xanthus is a model bacteria famous for its coordinated multicellular behavior resulting in formation of various dynamical patterns. Examples of these patterns include fruiting bodies - aggregates in which tens of thousands of bacteria self-organize to sporulate under starvation conditions and ripples - dynamical bacterial density waves propagating through the colony during predation. Relating these complex self-organization patterns in M. xanthus swarms to motility of individual cells is a complex-reverse engineering problem that cannot be solved solely by traditional experimental research. Our group addresses this problem with a complementary approach - a combination of biostatistical image quantification of the experimental data with agent-based modeling. To illustrate our approach we discuss our methods of modeling predatory traveling waves - ripples, quantifying emergent order in developmental aggregation under starvation conditions and discovering features that affect the aggregation dynamics.


2:00pm-3:00pm, WMAX 110