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DCL Seminar: Ken Duffy - DNA Coded Randomized Algorithms for Cellular Inference

Event Type
Decision and Control Laboratory, Coordinated Science Laboratory
CSL Auditorium, Room B02
Apr 20, 2016   3:00 pm  
Ken Duffy, Ph.D Hamilton Institure National University of Ireland Maynooth
Linda Meccoli
Originating Calendar
CSL Decision and Control Group

Decision and Control Lecture Series

Coordinated Science Laboratory


“DNA Coded Randomized Algorithms for Cellular Inference”


Ken Duffy, Ph.D.

Hamilton Institute

National University of Ireland Maynooth


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

CSL Auditorium (B02)



“DNA Coded Randomized Algorithms for Cellular Inference” 



No prior biological knowledge will be assumed in this talk, though you may wish to be comfortable with electrical rewiring.

The traditional understanding of cells of a given type is that they all have near-equal potential when exposed to the same signals. As experimental methodologies have become more quantitative, this view has been challenged by data that has established ubiquitous heterogeneity in the behavior of apparently identical cells. The source, relevance, and ramifications of this diversity is a topic of substantial study.

One recently developed significant biotechnology tool in this domain is Cellular Barcoding. It enables the familial identification of progeny of individual cells in vivo, and has been used for fundamental breakthroughs in understanding of immunology, blood system development, and cancer. With an aim to enhancing the remit and power of that methodology, in this talk we will describe the design of two randomized algorithms that we have developed to overcome the shortcomings of Cellular Barcoding. One enables estimation of the depth of a family tree, while the other effectively shuffles picks from a deck of cards, with the deck of cards being a piece of DNA.

A brief explanation of realizations of the algorithms, which are being implemented in collaboration with colleagues at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and the Netherlands Cancer Institute, respectively, will be provided.



Ken Duffy is a Professor at the Hamilton Institute, National University of Ireland Maynooth. He received the B.A.(mod) and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from Trinity College Dublin in 1996 and 2000, respectively. His research interests are in probability and statistics, and their application to engineering and the life sciences. Amongst other things, he is currently working on fundamental models of computational security, as well as DNA coded randomized algorithms for inference in cellular biology.

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