IICII Summer School in Quantitative Biology

September 09th- 20th, 2024 | IFOM, Milan - Italy

Luria-Delbruck Fluctuation Test

Course description

-First week module-

In this module, we will teach students about measuring mutation rates through the population dynamics of expanding populations. This is the classic "Luria-Delbruck" experiment which is also a pioneering historical example of interdisciplinary collaboration in quantitative biology. In the first part of the week, we will introduce the mathematical framework and population dynamics models needed to approach the problem, along with relevant results from the literature. Students will have the opportunity to perform the experiment themselves using bacteria or yeast, measuring the rate of emergence of resistance mutations and testing scenarios of drug-induced versus spontaneous phenotypic transitions. This will involve growing cells in multi-well plates, applying a stress such as phages or drugs, and quantifying the fraction and abundance of surviving colonies. By using stochastic models and model-selection strategies, students will be able to answer our key questions and compare different resistance targets. Overall, this module provides students with a comprehensive hands-on understanding of mutation rates and population dynamics experiments. This module also offers a unique opportunity for students to apply mathematical analysis in a practical setting and develop computational skills in data analysis and model selection.


Marco Cosentino Lagomarsino

IFOM ETS - The AIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology