Design and Diversity in Bacterial Signaling Networks

Event Date: November 11, 2014
Speaker: Prof. Christopher Rao
Speaker Affiliation: University of Illinois,
Time: 9:00 - 10:15 am
Location: FRNY G140

Abstract:   Evolution has solved many of the problems faced by control engineers, though the solutions in natural systems are most often quite different than those seen in engineered systems. Specifically, natural control systems often employ interlocking positive and negative feedback loops with no clear decoupling between them. In this talk, I will discuss some of our work investigating the multi-loop control strategies that bacterial employ for transcriptional regulation. I will conclude by identifying some common properties of these systems and discuss their differences to engineered controlled systems.


Bio:  Christopher Rao is an Associate Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Robert W. Schaefer Professorial Scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a program leader within the Energy Biosciences Institute. He received his B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, both in Chemical Engineering. Prior to beginning his independent career at Illinois in 2005, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He received the NSF CAREER Award in 2007, W. David Smith Jr. Graduate Student Paper Award from AIChE in 2007, the High Impact Paper Award from IFAC in 2010, and the Outstanding Young Research Award from the Computing and Systems Technology Division of AIChE in 2012. His research interests are in the areas of systems and synthetic biology, with a specific interest in understanding how cells employ feedback control in decision-making processes.