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COMPLEX TIME: Adaptation, Aging, & Arrow of Time

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Dynamic Multi-System Resilience in Human Aging/Emergence of Aging in Natural and Synthetic Multicellular Structures

From Complex Time

November 12, 2018
10:00 am - 10:40 am


Dervis Can Vural (Univ. Notre Dame)


Many simple organisms such as ferns, hydra or jellyfish do not age. Their mortality rates remain approximately constant at all ages. In contrast, complex organisms typically have a probability of deathm(t) that increases with age, t. Furthermore, the functional form of m(t) for many different organisms show a remarkable degree of similarity. The difference between simple and complex organisms, and the universality of aging patterns among complex organisms strongly suggest that aging is an emergent phenomenon that depends not on the individual properties of biological building blocks,but rather, on the interactions between them. Indeed, we die not because we slowly run out of live cells, but because of systemic failures that manifest in complex organs. In this talk I will present a quantitative theory of aging based on evolutionary and mechanical arguments, and show how aging appears as an emergent phenomenon as one moves across the scale of complexity, from large molecules and cells, to tissues and organs. I will particularly focus on aging in synthetic tissues, since this is the simplest structure that admits controlled experimental observation of emergent systemic damage.

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