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Theory of Living Matter Group


3rd General Meeting

General information

The third regular meeting will start with a talk by Prof. Dennis Bray, who is a pioneer in the field of cell signalling, in particular by contributing to unveil the mechanisms of bacterial chemotaxis. He is co-author of the text book "Molecular Biology of the Cell" which is a canonical reference in biology education.

After the talk there will be a drinks reception with snacks and plenty of time for informal discussions.

Registration closed.

Tuesday, 28th October 2014, 6pm

Main lecture theatre, Sainsbury Laboratory
Bateman Street, Cambridge CB2 1NN

Directions: The Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University is located in Cambridge University Botanic Garden and can be accessed via Bateman Street. Note that the entrance to the Sainsbury Laboratory is rather hidden in the backyard of an arts school. There will be signs and people waiting to guide the way.


“Protein computations and the origins of behaviour”

Dennis Bray, University of Cambridge

Cells are built up of molecular circuits that perform logical operations, analogous in many ways to electronic devices but with unique properties. Proteins in particular act like miniature transistors, controlling the biochemical processes of a cell and providing a basis for the sophisticated decision making of cells and organisms. I will illustrated these features with reference to the simple form of behaviour in which bacteria smell and swim towards distant sources of food. During bacterial chemotaxis, protein states encode the experiences of the cell past and present and use these data to select the best direction in which proceed—in effect to predict the future.