Scheduled Times and Places

The SLS has three scheduled timeslots a week:

  • Monday, 13:15-15:05, CB4.9
  • Thursday, 11:15-13:05, CB4.9
  • Friday, 12:15-14:05, CB4.7

Industrial Problem Outlines

We have been provided with outlines for the problems that will be presented at ITT8.

Mapping MRSA outbreaks
New technology is making it possible to quickly gene-sequence isolates from individuals carrying hospital-acquired antibiotic-resistant infections such as MRSA. The challenge is to develop efficient mathematical methods to infer the transmission tree (i.e. who passed the infection to whom) by studying the accumulation of mutations between isolates.
Recommended Reading: Building a genomic framework for prospective MRSA surveillance in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

Self-healing concrete
Impregnating concrete with certain bacterial colonies can give it "self-healing" properties that prevent structural degredation. So far most work has been experimental - the challenge is to develop predictive models for the dynamcis of the bacterial colonies and inform material design.
Recommended Reading: Application of expanded perlite encapsulated bacteria and growth media for self-healing concrete.

Experimental evolution of genetic regulatory networks
Experiments have shown that, when placed under stress, certain bacteria that are genetically modified to be immobile can "rediscover" mobility by rewiring their genetic regulatory network. The challenges include developing a mathematical model of this process and fit it to experimental data using image analysis of baterial colony growth.
Recommended Reading: Evolutionary resurrection of flagellar motility via rewiring of the nitrogen regulation system.

Plant Attack Causality
Time series data of RNA sequence expression has been gathered from plants under attack from pathogenic fungi, as well as the fungi themselves. Is it possible to infer "causality" between the genes expressed in the fungus and the plant?
Recommended Reading: Comparative analysis of plant immune receptor architectures uncovers host proteins likely targeted by pathogens.

Re-infestation of Vectors
Triatoma infestans, a vector of Chagas' disease in the Southern Cone of America, was considered for a long time as a strictly domestic, however, recent data suggests that this insect can survive in the wild also. One challenge is to develop a mathematical/statistical model to predict the risk of re-infestation of homes after pesticide spraying. There are also open questions around modelling the absorption of the pesticide sprays, and how to design optimal control strategies.

A Model of Loneliness
While for some factors causality is fairly clear based on prior knowledge (loneliness does not cause someone to become widowed, however becoming widowed can cause loneliness), for others the relationship between cause and effect is more blurred (ill health can cause loneliness but also loneliness can cause ill health). Can a model be developed for lonliness in the UK; at a local or global level, for urban areas or rural areas, and can it be combined with existing survey data?
Recommended Reading:

Student Contacts

Please note, the SLS has concluded for Semester 2.