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WN@tL: Replicating Viruses and Adapting Clones: Making Sense of Biology with Mathematics
February 12, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
Speaker: Maria Orive
Description: There are two major ways that we can use mathematical models to make sense of biology: as a tool to explain what we do see, and as a framework for predicting what we might see. The first of these allows specific tests of hypotheses, and the second allows us to generate hypotheses. Using examples from viral infection within a human host and from organismal adaptation under environmental change, we consider how building dynamical mathematical models let us describe biological systems that change over time. These models can help us understand why the number of viral particles within the host might decrease initially even without application of a drug therapy, or to predict whether organisms that can reproduce in multiple ways, such as many plants and marine invertebrates, will have an easier or harder time adapting to a sudden environmental change. Using mathematical models allows us to address questions where it is really important to have clear answers or good hypotheses: in studies of disease, and in studies of environmental change and the invasion of new species.
Speaker Bio: Maria received her undergraduate degree at Stanford University, and her Ph.D. from the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. She spent two years in the lab of Dr. Marjorie Asmussen in the Department of Genetics at the University of Georgia, followed by a year as an NSF NATO Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, in the lab of Dr. Nick Barton. Maria came to the University of Kansas in 1997, where she is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. While at KU, she spent one year as a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.