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Ankur Jain selected as finalist for the Gregorio Weber International Prize in Biological Fluorescence


Ankur Jain has been selected as one of three finalists for the Gregorio Weber International Prize in Biological Fluorescence (Weber Prize) awarded for research related to a doctoral dissertation.   The three finalist’s submissions will be evaluated by a scientific panel.  The winner of this award will receive a monetary award and an invitation to present an acceptance lecture at the 2014 9th International Weber Symposium on Innovative Fluorescence Methodologies in Biochemistry & Medicine.

Ankur graduated with his PhD in Biophysics & Computational Biology in December 2013. He has been a postdoc working under the direction of Dr. Taekjip Ha.

1/10/2014 Piyush Labhsetwar, John Cole, Elijah Roberts, Nathan Price, and Zaida Luthey-Schulten, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A., 2013, Volume 110, pages 14006-11.

Stochastic gene expression
Stochastic gene expression
Due to the stochastic nature of gene expression, genetically identical cells inhabiting the same environment can vary significantly in their numbers of key enzymes, which in turn results in strikingly different cellular behaviors.  This cell-to-cell variability can manifest itself through differences in growth rates, usage of specific biochemical pathways, and the types of metabolic byproducts produced by each cell.  Incorporating data from studies of gene regulation and protein distributions in single cells, we developed a population flux balance methodology that identified several behavioral subtypes within a population grown on minimal medium.  Our computer model predicts the emission of acetate for slow growing subpopulations and pathway selection to balance energy (glycolysis pathway) and protein costs (ED pathway) as a function of growth. The research also suggests that tracking the behavior of a few genes "may be sufficient to capture most of the metabolic variability of the entire population. Our investigations provide the first calculations linking variation in specific pathway usages to the growth rate distribution of a microbial population.   By looking beyond the average growth rate of a colony, our work provides insight into the different strategies used by bacteria for survival and is an important step in the development of physical systems biology.


Publication can be found on Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences