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Theory of Living Matter Group

First meeting of the TLM group


We are excited to have Prof. Alfonso Martinez-Arias as a speaker. He will give a talk on Molecular dynamics and self organization in ensembles of mouse Embryonic Stem cells.

A central question in developmental biology concerns the relationship between gene activity and the arrangements of cells that we call tissues and organs. Classical biology envisions this as the result of deterministic programmes of gene expression acting homogeneously within cell populations. However, analysis of gene expression at the level of single cells engaged in these programmes reveals an unexpected degree of transcriptional heterogeneity which needs to be reconciled with the homogeneous and reproducible organization observable at the level of large groups of cells. The mechanisms that mediate, maintain and regulate these heterogeneities are at the center of my interests and the main subject of the research of my group.

In this talk I shall discuss how we use mouse Embryonic Stem (ES) cells to understand the ways in which heterogeneous, and to a certain degree stochastic, patterns of gene expression are averaged within cell populations to produce dynamically stable patterns of cell fates in a reproducible manner. At the end I shall show some examples of symmetry breaking and self organization in ensembles of ES cells which raise significant challenges to both physicists and biologists.

Throughout my discussion I shall emphasize how statistical physics provides an inspiration and a reference to address the relationship between genes and tissues.

Following your feedback we will then have a networking event to facilitate getting to know each other and encourage discussions across scientific disciplines. In the course of this event we would like to encourage people to communicate their research to scientists from different disciplines and to discuss opportunities for collaborations in an informal way.

Date and venue

Date: Wednesday, 25th June from 6-8pm

Venue: Room LR3, Department of Engineering, Trumpington Street

Room LR3 is in the Inglis Building, which is located behind the main building. There will be signs which will guide the way.


To judge attendance please register here in case you plan to take part:
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Do you think your experimental work might benefit from theoretical insights? Are you a theorist who would like to present his work to an interdisciplinary audience? Then why not give a talk in one of our meetings? Just send us an email at .