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2000-01 Hougen Visiting Professorship

Bernhard Palsson

Bernhard Palsson (34K JPG)

Bernhard O. Palsson (PhD 1984), Professor of Bioengineering and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, returned to Madison as this year's Olaf A. Hougen Visiting Professor.

Bernhard delivered a series of fascinating lectures for a chemical engineering audience, as well as a public lecture, discussing the development and future of "in silico" biology — the representation of cellular components and their interrelation through mathematical models and computer simulations. High-throughput experimental technologies, such as DNA sequencing methods that can yield the entire base-pair sequence of a genome, DNA chips that allow the analysis of all the messenger RNA in a cell, and proteomic methods that yield information about the protein portfolio of a cell, allow for quantitative and detailed measurements of cellular components and behavior.

This capability provides the means to study biological processes as systems comprised of a modular set of "genetic circuits," which, in turn, allows these processes to be modeled mathematically. The complexity of biological systems, as compared to the physicochemical systems to which chemical engineers are accustomed, requires the development of some new approaches to modeling.

Nonetheless, Bernhard contends that, with an increasing number of annotated genomes becoming available, we are entering an era of forward genetics, in which defined genotypes will enable the quantitative study of complex genotype-phenotype relationships.

Look for the complete notes from Bernhard's Hougen lectures at http://geneticcircuits.ucsd.edu/hougen.html. More information about the Hougen Professorship is available on the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering web site: http://www.engr.wisc.edu/che/hougen.html.


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Date last modified: Saturday, 28-Jul-2001 07:17:00 CDT
Date created: 16-Aug-1999