In conjunction with the interdisciplinary activities of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), a seminar series will be hosted every other Tuesday at 3:30 p.m in Rm. 206, Claxton Education Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd. (NIMBioS' new location). Seminar speakers will focus on their research initiatives at the interface of mathematics and many areas of the life sciences. Light refreshments will be served starting 30 minutes before each seminar.
Time/Date/Location: 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 24, Rm. 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Speaker: Joshua Plotkin, Mathematical Biology, Univ. of Pennsylvania; NIMBioS Postdoctoral Fellows Invited Distinguished Visitor
Topic: On the role of neutral mutations in adaptation
Abstract: Even though neutral mutations do not change an individual's phenotype, they can interact epistatically with other loci and alter the phenotypic consequences of subsequent mutations. I will discuss both theoretical and empirical examples of how such "conditionally neutral" mutations can facilitate adaptation of a protein or organism to a novel environment. In a simple population-genetic model, we find a broad regime for which increasing the mutational robustness of one phenotype accelerates the adaptation of a population to a new target phenotype. Likewise, phylogenetic analyses of influenza viral genomes identify hundreds of epistatic pairs of mutations that, in combination, allow the virus to evolve drug resistance and escape antibody pressure.
*Join us for refreshments in at 3 p.m.
Seminar Flyer (pdf)