I’m Song Feng, a climbing beginner who is studying in UK. I am currently a PhD student in School of Life Science, University of Warwick, under supervision of Prof. Orkun Soyer.
Generally, I am interested in complex systems and their evolution. The ultimate goals are understand (some of) the design principles of complex system, whether it is cellular networks, microbial communities, or collective groups in biological, ecological and social systems.
My PhD study is in area of evolutionary systems and synthetic biology, particularly about “Exploring design principles of cellular information processing”. By collaborating with Prof. Peter Swain and Dr. Julien Ollivier, we managed to build up a program, called BioJazz, to combine evolutionary algorithm with rule-based modelling approach (see ANC). We used this program to evolve two well-known cellular decision making dynamics, ultrasensitivity and adaptation, we found that besides allosteric regulation and zero-order ultrasensitivity, enzyme sequestration can be an evolutionary design principle for protein interaction networks to generate diverse response dynamics. Meanwhile, we discovered that bistable dynamics readily emerged from evolution of ultrasensitivity, we successfully identified the smallest bistable motif which requires only one kinase with two distinct conformation states and one substrate with autodephosphorylation capability. The structure pattern for bistable signalling networks suggests bistability arises from competition between futile cycles. We successfully derived unbounded multistability from increased enzyme states, either by adding more allosteric enzymes or adding more allosteric states to the single enzyme. Such multistability from compeition can not only guide synthetic biology applications in complex logic gates and state transitions but also reveal potential functional roles of cross-talks in signalling networks. This lead us to explore the design principle for bistable signaling networks. We are currently collaborating with serious mathematicians Prof. Elisenda Feliu and Prof. Carsten Wiuf to both study the stochacity in the multistable motif and also search the so-called sufficient conditions for bistable signalling network.
My current climbing level: Sport 6c, Trads N/A, Bouldering N/A. I wish I could update those figures often.
School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick,
Coventry, CV4 7AL, United Kingdom