Towards a Mathematical Theory of Developmental Biology: Lecture 1

Speaker: Geoff Schiebinger

Date: Mon, Jun 20, 2022

Location: PIMS, University of Washington

Conference: PIMS- IFDS- NSF Summer School on Optimal Transport

Subject: Mathematics

Class: Scientific


New measurement technologies like single-cell RNA sequencing are bringing ‘big data’ to biology. One of the most exciting prospects associated with this new trove of data is the possibility of studying temporal processes, such as differentiation and development. In this talk, we introduce the basic elements of a mathematical theory to answer questions like How does a stem cell transform into a muscle cell, a skin cell, or a neuron? How can we reprogram a skin cell into a neuron? We model a developing population of cells with a curve in the space of probability distributions on a high-dimensional gene expression space. We design algorithms to recover these curves from samples at various time-points and we collaborate closely with experimentalists to test these ideas on real data.