Memory and multistability: from brain to cell to genes

2 December 2005

Xiaohui Xie
Broad Institute


Memory is manifested at many different levels: remembering a telephone number, maintaining a cellular state, maintaining stable production of a gene. Though appearing largely unrelated, they can often be represented as persistent activities, in either firing of action potentials in neurons or chromatin modifications in genome or transcription of genes. In this talk, I will present models of memory in these diverse systems, and a unifying scheme of storing memories as stable fixed points in dynamical systems maintained by positive feedbacks. I will discuss the ramifications of this scheme, especially on how to achieve robustness when systems are noisy, and how that might aid understanding experimental observations.

current theory lunch schedule