Van Leeuwenhoek Lecture on BioScience

Thursday, March 28, 2019
15:45 onwards
Gorlaeus laboratories, new entrance (Bètacampus), LUMY 04.28
Einsteinweg 55, 2333 CC Leiden

Towards an integrated framework for computational MorphoDynamX

Speaker: Richard Smith (Cologne, Max Planck Inst. for Plant Breeding Research)

Richard Smith is full professor at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne since 2013. He graduated with BSc in Math and Computer Science from the University of Regina, Canada in 1988. After his Masters in Computer Science he went to work in industry. After 14 years he returned to science and did a PhD with Professor Prusinkiewicz in Calgary, Alberta, from 2004-2007 working on models of phyllotaxis. After a short post-doc with Chris Kuhlemeier, he started his own biomechanics/modeling group at the University of Bern in 2008.

The emerging field of Computational Morphodynamics aims to understand morphogenesis and development through an interdisciplinary approach involving the combination of experimental and computational methods. Data from live imaging of growing biological tissue is analyzed in order to understand how gene expression results in cell and organ shape change. Hypotheses are formulated and then tested in simulation models, which then create predictions which can be tested experimentally. We have previously developed the software MorphoGraphX ( that is specialized for the quantification of cell shape change and gene expression on surface layers of cells. This is especially useful in plant tissue where confocal imaging is often limited to the surface layer. In this talk I will present examples of the use of MorphoGraphX, how it can inform simulation models of plant development, and our current work on to extend this platform to develop an integrated framework for computational morphodynamics.

Please keep the following dates free in your diary (all Thursdays):

  • April 11 2019, Valerian Dolja (Oregon State University, Genome esearch and BioComputing)
  • May 23 2019, Pamela Yeh (UCLA, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
  • June 27 2019, Nick Lane (London University College, Evolutionary Biochemistry)
  • September 26 2019, Rob Phillips (Pasadena, Caltech, Biology and Biological Engineering)

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