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Wednesday, January 08, 2020

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BMS Seminar: Topological analysis of multicellular dynamics in plants Professor George Bassel, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick
GLT3, Warwick Medical School

Abstract:
Life originated as single celled organisms, with multicellularity arising multiple times across evolutionary history. Following this transition, an increasing diversity of cellular arrangements were selected for as they conferred organisms with novel adaptive features following structure-function relationships. By viewing organs as integrated systems of interacting cells, the organizational principles of these cellular configurations may be approached. Plants are well suited to investigate complex organ design as their cells do not migrate during development. We have developed methods to capture all cellular associations within plant organs using a combination of high resolution 3D microscopy and computational image analysis. In this way, multicellular organs are abstracted into networks describing intercellular connectivity, enabling their quantitative analysis using network science. The application of this approach to bridging a structure-function relationship in epidermal cell patterning, and the evolutionary origins of complex organ design will be discussed.