The Arne Magnus Lectures
April 4 - 6, 2016

M. Gregory Forest

M. Gregory Forest

Grant Dahlstrom Distinguished Professor
Departments of Mathematics & Biomedical Engineering
Director, Carolina Center for Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Location: 221 TiLT Building
Reception following lecture
Weber 117
5:00 - 6:00 pm

Title: The Virtual Lung Project at UNC

Abstract:  In the late 1990s, the Virtual Lung Project (VLP) at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill began as an interdisciplinary response to the mucus transport problem for cystic fibrosis patients, integrating basic and medical science toward an understanding of disease and the potential for science-based, engineering solutions. Lung biologists Ric Boucher, John Sheehan, and Bill Davis of the UNC Cystic Fibrosis Center, now the Marsico Lung Institute, teamed with physicists Rich Superfine and Michael Rubinstein, applied mathematicians Greg Forest, Roberto Camassa, Tim Elston, Rich McLaughlin, and Sorin Mitran, and computer scientist Russ Taylor. All saw the opportunity to formulate open questions from mathematics, microscopy, stochastic processes, fluid mechanics, rheology, materials science, and computational science, in one remarkable biological system – lung transport of mucus. This lecture will survey the biology, the pathology, experiments and data, selected highlights of progress, with an emphasis on the role of mathematics and computation interwoven with medical science and biology. Contributions from many former PhD students, postdocs, and faculty will be acknowledged during the lecture.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016
11:00 - 12:00 p.m.

Location: Weber 223
Department reception prior to talk
Weber 117
10:30 - 11:00 am

Title: Dynamic organization of DNA in living yeast

Abstract: DNA molecules are packaged in the cell nucleus in a sequence of compression steps by different molecular species, e.g., histones, condensin, and cohesin. While the genome has been sequenced from yeast to human, a current focus in biology is on the post-genome questions: how does the genome organize and interact throughout the cell cycle; what features of this dynamic organization can be explained simply from entropy of molecular confinement; and, what features require "intelligent design", guided by specific molecular species. My group, led by Paula Vasquez, together with David Adalsteinsson and several joint math-biology graduate students, has worked with Kerry Bloom's lab to weave experiments and modeling of chromosomal DNA in living yeast. This lecture will survey progress of that collaboration.

Monday, April 4, 2016
Location: Weber 223
Department reception prior to talk
Weber 117
3:30 - 4:00 am

Title: Transient anomalous diffusion in mucus gels and other biological fluids

Abstract: Measurements of Brownian probes in viscous fluids have remarkably robust time series, e.g., mean-squared displacement (MSD) scales linearly with time, and one can use such data to determine the fluid viscosity. Passive microrheology generalizes this classical protocol to determine dynamic viscous and elastic moduli of complex fluids, i.e., the loss and storage modulus across a broad frequency range. One finds that in mucus gels, micron-scale particle paths are sub-diffusive (MSD scales sub-linearly with time) and transient (the local MSD power law exponent changes over time). Our group uses microbead time series data both as a viscoelasticity protocol and for inference of diffusive transport across mucus barriers. For the latter purpose, one must model the underlying stochastic process, since little is known about passage time distributions for transient anomalous diffusion. This lecture will cover the more technical aspects of data analysis, model inference, and direct simulations, based on joint work with a host of collaborators to be acknowledged.

The Arne Magnus Lectures are given annually in the Department of Mathematics at Colorado State University in honor of Dr. Arne Magnus, our friend and colleague for 25 years.

The lectures are supported by the Arne Magnus Lecture Fund and the Albert C. Yates Endowment in Mathematics.  

Contributions to the Magnus Fund are greatly appreciated and may be made through the Department of Mathematics.  Please contact  Sheri Hofeling ( at at (970)-491-7047 for specific information.

All lectures are free and open to the public.