The lab studies how living cells sense, represent, transmit, and act upon information to make decisions about their future states. Current studies concern a prototypic cell signaling system in yeast and will soon expand to other cell signaling systems. Experimental work proceeds in concert with efforts to account for observed quantitative signaling behaviors by simulation. Work requires continual development and refinement of experimental and computational methods, many of which find application to other biological problems. Continuing study of the genetic and physiological control of intracellular signals and the information they carry should continue to reveal additional mechanisms for cellular and organismic decision making. It should also suggest modalities for experimental manipulations and therapeutic interventions.
The lab includes, experimentally, a social science component at the Center for Biological Futures, a two-year pilot project that aims to bring together biologists with scholars in the social sciences and humanities, including anthropologists and philosophers, to better understand how biological knowledge and capability are shaping human affairs in the 21st century. This project includes a significant collaboration with investigators at the University of Washington, in the project Biological Futures in a Globalized World.
Lab members supported in other projects are encouraged to identify and analyze how the outcomes of their research and the ongoing increases in biological knowledge and capability might shape human affairs.