A computer in every living cell

Living cells perform computations analogous to electronic devices. Dr. Dennis Bray will explain it on October 29, at the CCCB

The talk is part of the series "Easy Science" organized by the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and will take place on Tuesday October 29, 2013 at 7:00 pm at the CCCB (Montalegre 5, Barcelona).

How do single-cell creatures such as amoebae lead such a sophisticated life? How can they hunt living prey, respond to light, sound and smells and display complex sequences of movements when they lack a nervous system? The answer is that the stuff of living cells performs computations, analogous in many ways to electronic devices but with unique properties. 

The computational units of life are its giant molecules especially proteins that act like miniature switches or transistors to guide the biochemical processes of a cell this way or that. Linked into huge networks with multiple components they perform reiterated, logical operations that underlie all of the distinctive properties of living systems. Protein complexes like microchips act on DNA to switch genes on and off in different cells – executing ‘programs’ of development. Machines made of protein molecules are the basis for the contractions of our muscles and the excitable, memory-encoding plasticity of the human brain… the seed corn of our mentation and sense of self.

Dr. Dennis Bray from the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience at University of Cambridge wil address these topics and will be able to discuss with general public about it.

Capacity limited to 90 people. Please RSVP to comunciacio@crg.eu. The talk will be in English and there will be simultaneous translation service.

 

Publication date: Saturday, 12 October 2013
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