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Physics Colloquium - Professor Ping Ao

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Physics Department

Professor Ping Ao

Shanghai Center for Quantitative Life Sciences and Department of Physics

Shanghai University


"Systems Biology on Cancer Genesis and Progression: Endogenous Network Theory"

Cancer is a complex dynamical phenomenon and a prototypical complex disease whose pathology cannot be properly understood by an individual player --- gene, protein as well as molecular pathway, similar to that of a many-body phenomenon in physics. The rapid accumulating large "omics" data in biological sciences provide more information on cancer but also require a new mechanistic underpinning to integrate for rationalizing cancer complexity and to identify collective and individual roles of these players. From mechanistic side, a unifying and quantitative theory was proposed that cancer is a robust state, or a group of states, of an endogenous molecular-cellular network. This state is not optimized for the whole organism. By examining the nonlinear stochastic dynamics of the core network in the phase space, robust states corresponding to normal physiological and abnormal pathological phenotypes, including cancer, emerge naturally. The nonlinear dynamical model of the network leads to a more encompassing framework integrating existing biological knowledge than the currently prevailing linear-additive thinking in cancer research. It was applied so far to prostate, hepatocellular, gastric cancers and leukemia. The quantitative models so constructed from individual molecular biology experiments recapitulate known clinical observations and predict new phenomena. This framework may serve as a platform of "dry experiments" for the search of new therapies on cancer. The endogenous molecular-cellular network theory may offer an example of carrying physics inquiring spirit far beyond: while quantitative approaches can address individual cases, there must be general rules/laws to be discovered in biology and medicine. In the lecture an overview of our more than 10 years effort will be provided.

WHEN: Thursday 15 February 2018
WHERE: Room 314, Science 3 Building
TIME: 3.00 pm–4.00 pm

All interested are welcome to attend

Light refreshments to follow in Common Room