2007 intake

Arturo Araujo Modelling Aneuploidy in Cancer
Raphaela Heussen Modelling of complex cell regulation and differentiation genetic networks
Julija Krupic  Electrophysiological studies of grid cell firing in freely moving rats
David Schulz  Neuronal Dynamics in the Primary Visual Cortex
   


Modelling Aneuploidy in Cancer
Arturo Araujo

Supervisors:  Dr. Peter Bentley (Computer Science) and Prof. Buzz Baum (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)

Cancer is a disease in which the controls that usually ensure the coordinated behaviour of individual cells break down. This rarely happens all at once. Instead, cells within the cancer are under high selection pressure, leading to the evolution of progressively more malignant cells.

My project focuses on aneuploidy, numerical chromosomal aberrations, in cancer. I combine computer modelling with an analysis of the genetic evolution in cancer. The model simulates individual cells, their genomes and their interactions, within different environments to explore key hypotheses. The goal is to use the model as a guide to cancer prognosis and to develop insights that can be used to manipulate tumour evolution during cancer therapy.

Homepage: arturoaraujo.com

Email:arturo.araujo@ucl.ac.uk




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araujo2

Modelling of complex cell regulation and differentiation genetic networks
Raphaela Heussen

Supervisors: Prof Alexey Zaikin (Department of Mathematics)

I am interested in utilizing mathematical models of gene regulatory networks to understand complex cell regulation and differentiation. I will investigate network dynamics in two biological settings:

Zebrafish chronobiology
The circadian clock controls the approximately 24-hour rhythm present in most living entities. While these rhythms can free-run inconstant conditions (such as constant darkness), they are usually entrained to the local time by environmental cues such as light. Endogenous oscillators can be found in many cells and peripheral organs, but in most higher organisms a central circadian pacemaker is present in the central nervous system, such as the suprachiasmatic nucleus in mammals. Interestingly, in zebrafish no central pacemaker has been found, and instead all cells appear to be directly entrained by light.

Immune progenitor cells differentiation
The white blood cells originate, along with red blood cells and megakaryocytes, from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) through the process of hematopoiesis. Blood cell progenitors proceed through several intermediate stages to the varied terminally differentiated
effector cell types, which include both innate myeloid and adaptive lymphoid cells.
Recently transient or partial differentiation have been reported. The projects aims to analyze which factors (e.g. multi-stability, stochastic fluctuations) may underlie this.




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Raphaela Heussen

Electrophysiological studies of grid cell firing in freely moving rats
Julija Krupic


Supervisors: Prof. John O’Keefe (The Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, UCL) and Prof. Neil Burgess (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience)


Grid cells (GCs) are spatially modulated neurons found in medial entorhinal cortex (mEC) and parasubiculum (PaS) whose multiple firing locations form a periodic triangular array covering the entire available two-dimensional surface. The general consensus is that the GCs are involved in path integration. However, the mechanism of generating GC activity is still not well understood. I am applying electrophysiological techniques in in vivo experiments to investigate what major factors influence the grid-like firing of the GCs.

Homepage: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucbpjkr/
E-mail: j.krupic@ucl.ac.uk




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Julija Krupic's Research

Neuronal Dynamics in the Primary Visual Cortex
David Schulz

Recent advances in neural recording techniques have made it possible to record the responses of hundreds of neurons simultaneously. The analysis and functional interpretation within such a high-dimensional context, however, still poses many challenges. The goal of my PhD is to investigate models and dimensionality reduction techniques, which can serve to give insight into the functional relationships of neural responses.




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David Schulz

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