Center for Computational Biology Seminar: Dr. Murat Acar, Associate Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University

Seminar | May 2 | 4:30-5:30 p.m. | 125 Li Ka Shing Center

 Center for Computational Biology

Title: Quantitative insights into gene network evolution and aging in the context of a canonical network

Regulation of gene expression in the yeast galactose utilization network has served as a paradigm for eukaryotic transcriptional control for 60 years now. Using the GAL network as an experimental model, we characterized cross-species evolution of this network and how cellular aging affected the network activity. Combinatorial replacement of the network promoters in S. cerevisiae by their counterparts from the yeast S. paradoxus provided insights into the role of a key cis-regulatory region as a facilitator of network evolution between the two yeast species. Tracking the activity of the GAL network in budding yeast cells monitored throughout their replicative lifespan in a microfluidic chamber elucidated how gene expression levels and noise in gene expression dynamically change during the aging of the host cell. Aging-associated increases in chromatin state transitions were hypothesized to be behind the observed gene expression and noise dynamics, and a stochastic model provided quantitative support to the proposed mechanism. Future studies on other model organisms and/or gene networks will show the degree of generality of our results.

Trained as a physicist (PhD, Physics, M.I.T.; B.S., Physics, Bogazici University), Murat Acar is a systems biologist who combines experimental and computational approaches in his research using yeast as a model organism. Being a member of the Yale Systems Biology Institute, Dr. Acar is an Associate Professor at the Departments of Molecular Cellular & Developmental Biology and Physics at Yale University. Dr. Acar started his faculty position at Yale as an Assistant Professor in 2012 after a postdoctoral position at CalTech. His PhD and postdoctoral studies focused on understanding structure-function relationships in gene networks while his current research efforts are focusing on understanding single-cell aging and gene network evolution.

 Light refreshments will be provided at reception from 4:00pm - 4:30pm, 125 LKS foyer.