Pre-doctoral school in QUANTITATIVE BIOLOGY

July 8th- 19th, 2019 | IFOM, Milan - Italy

Single cell dynamics

Course description

-Second week module-

The physiological state of a cell is largely defined by the set of genes that are switched on and off. The activation state of genes is a function of external stimuli, but also of the activation state of other genes. In other words, cells’ behavior is determined by complex networks whose nodes are genes that respond to external and internal cues.

When we talk generically about 'cells', however, we are making a big assumption. A cell population is formed by thousands of cells (organisms even more). The behavior of each individual cell is quite hard to follow, while it is much easier to study the average behavior. Indeed, a large part of the experiments performed in laboratories are done in the assumption that the average behavior of a cell population also represents the behavior of its individual components. The average assumption is many times correct, but it can also be very wrong.

In this module, we will show one particular case where the average population behavior differs dramatically from what individual cells actually do. We will do so in the context of the mitotic checkpoint, a surveillance pathway that monitors chromosome segregagtion at cell division.


Andrea Ciliberto

IFOM, The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation

Guest Lecturer:

Diego di Bernardo was awarded a “Laurea cum laude” Degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Naples "Federico II" in January 1997. In June 2001 he was awarded a Ph.D. degree from the University of Newcastle, UK, with the supervision of Prof. Alan Murray. His Ph.D. thesis describes an experimental and computational approach to cardiac repolarisation and T wave morphology. From June 2002 to December 2002 he was a PostDoc in the lab of Prof. James Collins at the Department of BioEngineering in Boston University. In 2003 he joined the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine in Naples (Italy) where he became Director of the Functional Genomics and Systems Biology Research Program in 2007. His research interests are in systems and synthetic biology with particular emphasis in reverse-engineering of gene networks to elucidate disease gene function and the mode-of-action of novel pharmacological compounds, and building novel synthetic circuits to modulate gene expression.