BCB Faculty Candidate Seminar

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 4:00pm
Event Type: 

On Tuesday, January 19, Lee Altenberg, a BCB faculty candidate, will present a colloquium as a part of his visit, January 18 through Jan. 20.  The successful candidate for this BCB faculty cluster hire will join the Department of Mathematics.

His itinerary is below.

Lee Altenberg

Senior Fellow, The KLI Institute for Advanced Studies in Theoretical Biology, Klosterneuburg, Austria

Tuesday, January 19, 4:10 p.m.

202 Carver Hall

"The Deep Connection between Mutational Robustness and Mutational Time Dynamics"

Abstract: The production of genetic variation is essential for the evolutionary process, but inescapably much of this variation is deleterious, and depresses the average fitness of a population below its maximal value.  Haldane (1937) found for some simple models that, counterintuitively, this depression in fitness — the genetic load — was independent of the selection coefficients, and determined instead by the mutation rate.  Departures from Haldane's principle were found in 1999 due to the evolution of mutational robustness on neutral networks of genotypes.  The genetic load was found to be determined by the topology of the neutral network.  No quantification of how the topology determines the genetic load has been forthcoming.  Here, bounds are placed on the genetic load through the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of the mutation matrix.  The treatment goes beyond neutral networks to arbitrary fitness landscapes and reversible mutation matrices. The mutational relaxation time for a perturbation of genotype frequencies has a direct relationship to the mutational robustness under the same perturbation of genotype fitnesses.  By taking a general approach, the behavior of different kinds of mutation — point mutation, copy number change, epigenetic mutation, as well as non-genetic information transmission such as dispersal — can be compared all within a unified framework, and their levels of robustness characterized.

Details from Dr. Altenberg's Website


My research focuses on the dynamics of evolutionary processes. I am particularly interested in higher order phenomena, such as the evolution of evolvability, the evolution of the genotype-phenotype map, including modularity, and the evolution of genetic systems. My work also addresses theoretical problems in evolutionary computation.

I have also worked in conservation on Maui as a part of what I consider to be an evolutionary biologist's professional obligation to preserve the products of evolution that bless Hawaii so remarkably.

Key Papers

Meeting With the Candidate

If you wish to meet with the speaker, contact Jonathan Smith , faculty organizer of the visit for the Math Department and BCB program.  His itinerary follows:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Arrive Des Moines Airport at 6:30 p.m.

Parking or Pickup Instructions:  Jonathan Smith will pick up from airport and bring to Ames.

Accommodations at Memorial Union (MU) Hotel.

Monday, January 18, 2016

9:00 a.m.       Roger Maddux, Professor Emeritus (maddux@iastate.edu)

Presentation of environmental activity in central Iowa


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

7:30 a.m.       Breakfast with Cliff Bergman, Professor & Chair.   Meet at the hotel desk in the Memorial Union.

9:00 a.m.       Robert Jernigan, Professor, BBMB, Meet in 495B Carver Hall

9:30 a.m.

10:00 a.m.     David Herzog, Assistant Professor, 474 Carver Hall

10:30 a.m.     Steve Butler, Assistant Professor, 400C Carver Hall

11:00 a.m.     Zhijun Wu, Professor, 462 Carver Hall

11:30 a.m.     Lunch—Organizer: Dennis Lavrov, Associate Professor, EEOB; Attendees: Paul Sacks, Zhijun Wu, Meet outside 400 Carver Hall (by elevators)

1:15 p.m.       Travel to Catt Hall, Zhijun Wu will escort

1:30 p.m.       Meet with Bill Gutowski, Associate Dean, Liberal Arts & Sciences, 202 Catt Hall

2:00 p.m.       Travel back from Catt Hall, Karin Dorman to walk from Catt to Carver

2:15 p.m.       Karin Dorman, Associate Professor, 495B Carver Hall

3:00 p.m.       Leslie Hogben, Professor, 488 Carver Hall

3:30 p.m.       Break/Colloquium Prep, 495B Carver Hall

3:45 p.m.       Tea & Cookies, 404 Carver Hall

4:10 p.m.       Colloquium, 202 Carver Hall

5:00 p.m.       Exit interview with Committee & FAC, 390 Carver Hall

6:00 p.m.       Dinner—Organizer: Wolfgang Kliemann, Professor & Associate VP for Research.  Attendees: Jo Anne Powell-Coffman, Chair, GDCB; Guru Rao, Chair, BBMB; Tracy Heath, Asst. Prof., EEOB.  Meet in Math Office, 396 Carver Hall

6:30 p.m.      Dinner at The Spice (Thai restaurant)


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Breakfast On Own

9:00 a.m.

9:30 a.m.       Jue Yan, Associate Professor, 484 Carver Hall

10:00 a.m.     Xun Gu, Professor, GDCB, 495B Carver Hall

10:30 a.m.     Teaching Demo, 401 Carver Hall

11:00 a.m.     Exit Interview with Cliff Bergman, 398A Carver Hall

12:00 p.m.     Lunch with BCB graduate students, 2034 Molecular Biology Bldg. Contact: Trish Stauble, BCB Program Coordinator

1:00 p.m.       Thomas Peterson, 2258 Molecular Biology Bldg.  Will escort to Atanasoff.

1:45 p.m.       Oliver Eulenstein, Professor, ComS, 212 Atanasoff Hall

2:30 p.m.       ISU SIAM Chapter, 401 Carver Hall

3:35 p.m.       Leave for airport for departure flight.  Pick up luggage on way through MU to parking ramp.  American Airlines 895 departing at 5:50 p.m.