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BESE Seminar - Professor Alexander Lorz

Start Date: May 10, 2017
End Date: May 10, 2017

​​TITLE: Mathematics meets Biology: from Adaptive evolution to Zebrafish
DATE: Wednesday, May 10, 2017
TIME: 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Building 2 · Level 5 · Room 5220

The interaction between Mathematics and Biology leads to novel and interesting mathematical models, suggests quantitative approaches to better understand data and drives new experiments to investigate biological processes, ultimately providing novel biological insights.
My contribution to the research area where these two disciplines converge will be explored in this seminar. In particular, I will focus on current biological problems and on how to use mathematical modeling to analyze a variety of pressing questions arising from oncology, developmental pattern formation, population ecology and plant physiology. I will first discuss novel mathematical models for cancer growth dynamics and heterogeneity. These studies rely on evolutionary principles and shed light on 3D hepatic tumor dynamics, spatial heterogeneity and tumor invasion, and single cancer cell responses to antimitotic therapies. We have also developed mathematical models that quantitatively demonstrate how the interplay between non-genetic instability, stress-induced adaptation, and selection leads to the transient and reversible phenotypic evolution of cancer cell populations exposed to therapy. Finally, we develop control techniques for optimal therapeutic administration.
Further ongoing work focuses on modeling the dynamics of Red Sea microorganisms subject to transport by the currents and to selective pressure via temperature and salinity. Other projects include using mathematical models to investigate salt tolerance in plants. Lastly, I will discuss a mathematical approach for understanding the mechanics of pattern formation arising from cell-cell interactions in zebrafish.
In sum, I will explain how these seemingly different phenomena can be explored using a shared, comprehensive mathematical framework.
Dr. Alexander Lorz obtained his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Cambridge in 2011. After a postdoc at École normale supérieure de Cachan and at Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6), he became Assistant Professor at Université Pierre et Marie Curie in 2013. He is currently spending a sabbatical from Paris 6 in the CEMSE division. His primary research interests lie in mathematical biology, specifically in using tools from adaptive population dynamics to model and understand the behavior of living systems. His work involves, among other things, understanding the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of cancer cell populations, the distribution of microorganisms in the Red Sea and the selective pressures acting on them, and pattern formation in zebrafish. These studies are carried out in collaboration with researchers from Biology departments and Medical research centers.
Dr. Lorz has contributed to major advances in the field of population dynamics structured by a phenotype. This field aims at understanding one of the fundamental principles in nature, evolution. At the same time, promising applications of his research include better understanding the spatial and temporal development of resistance against antibiotics, chemotherapy, and salt.