Systems & Quantitative Biology
MCDB researchers alone, and in collaboration with the faculty in the Departments of Physics, Mechanical and Computer Engineering, and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics are taking systems approaches for modeling complex and diverse biological phenomena. UCSB provides a unique interdisciplinary research environment that encourages collaboration between the life, physical, and computational sciences. Among the areas of research being actively investigated at the systems level are the mechanisms of bacterial contact-dependent growth inhibition, fertilization, animal morphogenesis, cell polarity, microRNAs, and stem cell differentiation. In another area, MCDB researchers are combining field and laboratory experiments, in concert with mathematical modeling, to study the remarkable synchronous mass spawning of many coral species that occur on just one night in the year. System approaches will resolve the complex system of interactions between solar and lunar illumination, ocean environmental conditions, and the genetic, molecular and physiological processes they regulate, resulting in the exceptionally tight synchrony of spawning among colonies over large geographic distances.