In Search of General Design Principles for Collective Behavior

Marcella Gomez (June 26, 2019)

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The first wave of systems and synthetic biology has provided general network design principles that lead to robust dynamic behavior seen in nature such as adaptation, oscillations, and bi-stability.  The next frontier in this respect is finding general design principles for collective behavior of systems such as single-strain colonies with cell-to-cell communication or even multi-cellular systems. Mapping single-cell dynamics to collective behavior is not a trivial task. Some of the most well-known work includes theory developed by A. Turing for architectures leading to pattern formation. Here, I discuss a different mechanism, unique from Turing, that leads to similar patterning based on the well-known toggle switch architecture and associated properties.