In many biological networks, several input signals converge at one molecule which then regulates various targets. Often, it is unclear which functional operation such an “hourglass”-network performs. In my PhD project, I want to shed light on this question from an information-theoretic point of view.
One specific example is the B. subtilis quorum sensing pathway, which bacteria use to estimate their density. In this pathway, two different signals influence the same transcription factor which, in turn, regulates a number of different genes.
In collaboration with the laboratory of Ilka Bischofs, I work on a mathematical model for this signaling pathway. Our goal is to understand to which extent quorum sensing signals can be decoded at the gene expression level. We focus on the complex promoter design, as we aim at possible applications of our research to synthetic systems.
Room number: 541