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Single-celled organisms must make life-or-death decisions based on uncertain information received from their external environment and internal sensors and utilizing information-processing machinery based on molecular interactions that are continuously buffeted by random fluctuations in the small numbers of mRNA and protein molecules present in tiny “droplets” (10−15 L) of cytoplasm. In this seminar I will describe our progress in building accurate, comprehensive, stochastic models of the molecular machinery controlling DNA replication and cell division, with examples from both eukaryotes (budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and prokaryotes (aquatic bacteria, Caulobacter crescentus).

References: Barik et al., Mol. Syst. Biol. 6:405 (2010). Chen et al. (2015) Proc. ACM-BCB 6:37. Li et al. (2016) Phys. Biol., in press.

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