Open Seminars of the Research Group on


Stochasticity and Control in the Dynamics and Diversity of Immune Repertories: an Example of Multi-Cellular Co-Operation


Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 14:00

at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, Room 128




How ‘noise’ can help microorganisms adapt to fluctuating environment?


Naama Barkai (Weizmann)


Cells process information using circuits of interacting genes and proteins. Reliable performance of these circuits is often challenged by biological variability. Such variability results from genetic polymorphism, changes in the environment, or to random noise. We investigate the possible effects of this variability on the design of biological circuits. I will describe several of our studies, where we find that noise enables improved designs, not possible by a fully deterministic dynamics



Related Research Questions


  1. How do cells adapt to fluctuating environment?
  2. Can ‘noise’ benefit cells’ growth and survival?
  3. Can cells control the rate of genetic mutations, and does ‘noise’ play a role in this process?


Suggested Reading


Coupling phenotypic persistence to DNA damage increases genetic diversity in severe stress;

Gilad Yaakov*‡ , David Lerner‡ , Kajetan Bentele†‡, Joseph Steinberger† and Naama Barkai*

Nature Ecology and Evolution, Volume 1, January 2017


Increasing population growth by asymmetric segregation of a limiting resource during cell division.

Avraham N1,Soifer I,Carmi M,BarkaiN.

Mol Syst Biol.2013 Apr 16;9:656. doi: 10.1038/msb.2013.13.


Budding yeast escape commitment to the phosphate starvation program using gene expression noise.

Vardi N, Levy S, Assaf M, Carmi M,Barkai N.

Curr Biol. 2013 Oct 21;23(20):2051-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.08.043


The competitive advantage of a dual-transporter system.

Levy S, Kafri M, Carmi M, Barkai N.

Science. 2011 Dec 9;334(6061):1408-12. doi: 10.1126/science.1207154.



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