Exploration of physiological rhythms using genetic algorithms

Faculty Member

Sara Clifton and Karna Gowda

Project Image

Organisms from bacteria to plants to animals have evolved internal "clocks" that regulate basic functions. Some examples of intrinsic biological clocks include circadian rhythms, menstrual cycles, and reproductive cycles. In some simple organisms, such as photosynthetic bacteria, underlying mechanisms that regulate these clocks are understood.  However the genetic and molecular underpinnings of most biological clocks remain mysterious. This project will use genetic algorithms to generate a collection of ordinary differential equations that model molecular clocks. We will interpret these ODEs biologically and compare our results with known mechanisms.

[Image by GYassineMrabetTalk.  This vector image was created with Inkscape. - The work was done with Inkscape by YassineMrabet. Information was taken from "The Body Clock Guide to Better Health" by Michael Smolensky and Lynne Lamberg; Henry Holt and Company, Publishers (2000). Landscape was sampled from Open Clip Art Library (Ryan, Public domain). Vitruvian Man and the clock were sampled from Image:P human body.svg (GNU licence) and Image:Nuvola apps clock.png, respectively., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3017173]


Team Meetings


Project Difficulty


Undergrad Prerequisites

Coding skills in Matlab, Python or similar are required. Experience with ODEs preferred.