@phdthesis{9056,
abstract = {In this thesis we study persistence of multi-covers of Euclidean balls and the geometric structures underlying their computation, in particular Delaunay mosaics and Voronoi tessellations.
The k-fold cover for some discrete input point set consists of the space where at least k balls of radius r around the input points overlap. Persistence is a notion that captures, in some sense, the topology of the shape underlying the input. While persistence is usually computed for the union of balls, the k-fold cover is of interest as it captures local density,
and thus might approximate the shape of the input better if the input data is noisy. To compute persistence of these k-fold covers, we need a discretization that is provided by higher-order Delaunay mosaics.
We present and implement a simple and efficient algorithm for the computation of higher-order Delaunay mosaics, and use it to give experimental results for their combinatorial properties. The algorithm makes use of a new geometric structure, the rhomboid tiling. It contains the higher-order Delaunay mosaics as slices, and by introducing a filtration
function on the tiling, we also obtain higher-order α-shapes as slices. These allow us to compute persistence of the multi-covers for varying radius r; the computation for varying k is less straight-foward and involves the rhomboid tiling directly. We apply our algorithms to experimental sphere packings to shed light on their structural properties. Finally, inspired by periodic structures in packings and materials, we propose and implement an algorithm for periodic Delaunay triangulations to be integrated into the Computational Geometry Algorithms Library (CGAL), and discuss
the implications on persistence for periodic data sets.},
author = {Osang, Georg F},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {134},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Multi-cover persistence and Delaunay mosaics}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:9056},
year = {2021},
}
@phdthesis{8934,
abstract = {In this thesis, we consider several of the most classical and fundamental problems in static analysis and formal verification, including invariant generation, reachability analysis, termination analysis of probabilistic programs, data-flow analysis, quantitative analysis of Markov chains and Markov decision processes, and the problem of data packing in cache management.
We use techniques from parameterized complexity theory, polyhedral geometry, and real algebraic geometry to significantly improve the state-of-the-art, in terms of both scalability and completeness guarantees, for the mentioned problems. In some cases, our results are the first theoretical improvements for the respective problems in two or three decades.},
author = {Goharshady, Amir Kafshdar},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {278},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Parameterized and algebro-geometric advances in static program analysis}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8934},
year = {2021},
}
@phdthesis{8032,
abstract = {Algorithms in computational 3-manifold topology typically take a triangulation as an input and return topological information about the underlying 3-manifold. However, extracting the desired information from a triangulation (e.g., evaluating an invariant) is often computationally very expensive. In recent years this complexity barrier has been successfully tackled in some cases by importing ideas from the theory of parameterized algorithms into the realm of 3-manifolds. Various computationally hard problems were shown to be efficiently solvable for input triangulations that are sufficiently “tree-like.”
In this thesis we focus on the key combinatorial parameter in the above context: we consider the treewidth of a compact, orientable 3-manifold, i.e., the smallest treewidth of the dual graph of any triangulation thereof. By building on the work of Scharlemann–Thompson and Scharlemann–Schultens–Saito on generalized Heegaard splittings, and on the work of Jaco–Rubinstein on layered triangulations, we establish quantitative relations between the treewidth and classical topological invariants of a 3-manifold. In particular, among other results, we show that the treewidth of a closed, orientable, irreducible, non-Haken 3-manifold is always within a constant factor of its Heegaard genus.},
author = {Huszár, Kristóf},
isbn = {978-3-99078-006-0},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {xviii+120},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Combinatorial width parameters for 3-dimensional manifolds}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8032},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8155,
abstract = {In the thesis we focus on the interplay of the biophysics and evolution of gene regulation. We start by addressing how the type of prokaryotic gene regulation – activation and repression – affects spurious binding to DNA, also known as
transcriptional crosstalk. We propose that regulatory interference caused by excess regulatory proteins in the dense cellular medium – global crosstalk – could be a factor in determining which type of gene regulatory network is evolutionarily preferred. Next,we use a normative approach in eukaryotic gene regulation to describe minimal
non-equilibrium enhancer models that optimize so-called regulatory phenotypes. We find a class of models that differ from standard thermodynamic equilibrium models by a single parameter that notably increases the regulatory performance. Next chapter addresses the question of genotype-phenotype-fitness maps of higher dimensional phenotypes. We show that our biophysically realistic approach allows us to understand how the mechanisms of promoter function constrain genotypephenotype maps, and how they affect the evolutionary trajectories of promoters.
In the last chapter we ask whether the intrinsic instability of gene duplication and amplification provides a generic alternative to canonical gene regulation. Using mathematical modeling, we show that amplifications can tune gene expression in many environments, including those where transcription factor-based schemes are
hard to evolve or maintain. },
author = {Grah, Rok},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {310},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Gene regulation across scales – how biophysical constraints shape evolution}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8155},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8332,
abstract = {Designing and verifying concurrent programs is a notoriously challenging, time consuming, and error prone task, even for experts. This is due to the sheer number of possible interleavings of a concurrent program, all of which have to be tracked and accounted for in a formal proof. Inventing an inductive invariant that captures all interleavings of a low-level implementation is theoretically possible, but practically intractable. We develop a refinement-based verification framework that provides mechanisms to simplify proof construction by decomposing the verification task into smaller subtasks.
In a first line of work, we present a foundation for refinement reasoning over structured concurrent programs. We introduce layered concurrent programs as a compact notation to represent multi-layer refinement proofs. A layered concurrent program specifies a sequence of connected concurrent programs, from most concrete to most abstract, such that common parts of different programs are written exactly once. Each program in this sequence is expressed as structured concurrent program, i.e., a program over (potentially recursive) procedures, imperative control flow, gated atomic actions, structured parallelism, and asynchronous concurrency. This is in contrast to existing refinement-based verifiers, which represent concurrent systems as flat transition relations. We present a powerful refinement proof rule that decomposes refinement checking over structured programs into modular verification conditions. Refinement checking is supported by a new form of modular, parameterized invariants, called yield invariants, and a linear permission system to enhance local reasoning.
In a second line of work, we present two new reduction-based program transformations that target asynchronous programs. These transformations reduce the number of interleavings that need to be considered, thus reducing the complexity of invariants. Synchronization simplifies the verification of asynchronous programs by introducing the fiction, for proof purposes, that asynchronous operations complete synchronously. Synchronization summarizes an asynchronous computation as immediate atomic effect. Inductive sequentialization establishes sequential reductions that captures every behavior of the original program up to reordering of coarse-grained commutative actions. A sequential reduction of a concurrent program is easy to reason about since it corresponds to a simple execution of the program in an idealized synchronous environment, where processes act in a fixed order and at the same speed.
Our approach is implemented the CIVL verifier, which has been successfully used for the verification of several complex concurrent programs. In our methodology, the overall correctness of a program is established piecemeal by focusing on the invariant required for each refinement step separately. While the programmer does the creative work of specifying the chain of programs and the inductive invariant justifying each link in the chain, the tool automatically constructs the verification conditions underlying each refinement step.},
author = {Kragl, Bernhard},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {120},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Verifying concurrent programs: Refinement, synchronization, sequentialization}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8332},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8366,
abstract = {Fabrication of curved shells plays an important role in modern design, industry, and science. Among their remarkable properties are, for example, aesthetics of organic shapes, ability to evenly distribute loads, or efficient flow separation. They find applications across vast length scales ranging from sky-scraper architecture to microscopic devices. But, at
the same time, the design of curved shells and their manufacturing process pose a variety of challenges. In this thesis, they are addressed from several perspectives. In particular, this thesis presents approaches based on the transformation of initially flat sheets into the target curved surfaces. This involves problems of interactive design of shells with nontrivial mechanical constraints, inverse design of complex structural materials, and data-driven modeling of delicate and time-dependent physical properties. At the same time, two newly-developed self-morphing mechanisms targeting flat-to-curved transformation are presented.
In architecture, doubly curved surfaces can be realized as cold bent glass panelizations. Originally flat glass panels are bent into frames and remain stressed. This is a cost-efficient fabrication approach compared to hot bending, when glass panels are shaped plastically. However such constructions are prone to breaking during bending, and it is highly
nontrivial to navigate the design space, keeping the panels fabricable and aesthetically pleasing at the same time. We introduce an interactive design system for cold bent glass façades, while previously even offline optimization for such scenarios has not been sufficiently developed. Our method is based on a deep learning approach providing quick
and high precision estimation of glass panel shape and stress while handling the shape
multimodality.
Fabrication of smaller objects of scales below 1 m, can also greatly benefit from shaping originally flat sheets. In this respect, we designed new self-morphing shell mechanisms transforming from an initial flat state to a doubly curved state with high precision and detail. Our so-called CurveUps demonstrate the encodement of the geometric information
into the shell. Furthermore, we explored the frontiers of programmable materials and showed how temporal information can additionally be encoded into a flat shell. This allows prescribing deformation sequences for doubly curved surfaces and, thus, facilitates self-collision avoidance enabling complex shapes and functionalities otherwise impossible.
Both of these methods include inverse design tools keeping the user in the design loop.},
author = {Guseinov, Ruslan},
isbn = {978-3-99078-010-7},
issn = {2663-337X},
keywords = {computer-aided design, shape modeling, self-morphing, mechanical engineering},
pages = {118},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Computational design of curved thin shells: From glass façades to programmable matter}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8366},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8386,
abstract = {Form versus function is a long-standing debate in various design-related fields, such as architecture as well as graphic and industrial design. A good design that balances form and function often requires considerable human effort and collaboration among experts from different professional fields. Computational design tools provide a new paradigm for designing functional objects. In computational design, form and function are represented as mathematical
quantities, with the help of numerical and combinatorial algorithms, they can assist even novice users in designing versatile models that exhibit their desired functionality. This thesis presents three disparate research studies on the computational design of functional objects: The appearance of 3d print—we optimize the volumetric material distribution for faithfully replicating colored surface texture in 3d printing; the dynamic motion of mechanical structures—
our design system helps the novice user to retarget various mechanical templates with different functionality to complex 3d shapes; and a more abstract functionality, multistability—our algorithm automatically generates models that exhibit multiple stable target poses. For each of these cases, our computational design tools not only ensure the functionality of the results but also permit the user aesthetic freedom over the form. Moreover, fabrication constraints
were taken into account, which allow for the immediate creation of physical realization via 3D printing or laser cutting.},
author = {Zhang, Ran},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {148},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Structure-aware computational design and its application to 3D printable volume scattering, mechanism, and multistability}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8386},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8653,
abstract = {Mutations are the raw material of evolution and come in many different flavors. Point mutations change a single letter in the DNA sequence, while copy number mutations like duplications or deletions add or remove many letters of the DNA sequence simultaneously. Each type of mutation exhibits specific properties like its rate of formation and reversal.
Gene expression is a fundamental phenotype that can be altered by both, point and copy number mutations. The following thesis is concerned with the dynamics of gene expression evolution and how it is affected by the properties exhibited by point and copy number mutations. Specifically, we are considering i) copy number mutations during adaptation to fluctuating environments and ii) the interaction of copy number and point mutations during adaptation to constant environments. },
author = {Tomanek, Isabella},
issn = {2663-337X},
keywords = {duplication, amplification, promoter, CNV, AMGET, experimental evolution, Escherichia coli},
pages = {117},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{The evolution of gene expression by copy number and point mutations}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8653},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7460,
abstract = {Many methods for the reconstruction of shapes from sets of points produce ordered simplicial complexes, which are collections of vertices, edges, triangles, and their higher-dimensional analogues, called simplices, in which every simplex gets assigned a real value measuring its size. This thesis studies ordered simplicial complexes, with a focus on their topology, which reflects the connectedness of the represented shapes and the presence of holes. We are interested both in understanding better the structure of these complexes, as well as in developing algorithms for applications.
For the Delaunay triangulation, the most popular measure for a simplex is the radius of the smallest empty circumsphere. Based on it, we revisit Alpha and Wrap complexes and experimentally determine their probabilistic properties for random data. Also, we prove the existence of tri-partitions, propose algorithms to open and close holes, and extend the concepts from Euclidean to Bregman geometries.},
author = {Ölsböck, Katharina},
issn = {2663-337X},
keywords = {shape reconstruction, hole manipulation, ordered complexes, Alpha complex, Wrap complex, computational topology, Bregman geometry},
pages = {155},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{The hole system of triangulated shapes}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7460},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7514,
abstract = {We study the interacting homogeneous Bose gas in two spatial dimensions in the thermodynamic limit at fixed density. We shall be concerned with some mathematical aspects of this complicated problem in many-body quantum mechanics. More specifically, we consider the dilute limit where the scattering length of the interaction potential, which is a measure for the effective range of the potential, is small compared to the average distance between the particles. We are interested in a setting with positive (i.e., non-zero) temperature. After giving a survey of the relevant literature in the field, we provide some facts and examples to set expectations for the two-dimensional system. The crucial difference to the three-dimensional system is that there is no Bose–Einstein condensate at positive temperature due to the Hohenberg–Mermin–Wagner theorem. However, it turns out that an asymptotic formula for the free energy holds similarly to the three-dimensional case.
We motivate this formula by considering a toy model with δ interaction potential. By restricting this model Hamiltonian to certain trial states with a quasi-condensate we obtain an upper bound for the free energy that still has the quasi-condensate fraction as a free parameter. When minimizing over the quasi-condensate fraction, we obtain the Berezinskii–Kosterlitz–Thouless critical temperature for superfluidity, which plays an important role in our rigorous contribution. The mathematically rigorous result that we prove concerns the specific free energy in the dilute limit. We give upper and lower bounds on the free energy in terms of the free energy of the non-interacting system and a correction term coming from the interaction. Both bounds match and thus we obtain the leading term of an asymptotic approximation in the dilute limit, provided the thermal wavelength of the particles is of the same order (or larger) than the average distance between the particles. The remarkable feature of this result is its generality: the correction term depends on the interaction potential only through its scattering length and it holds for all nonnegative interaction potentials with finite scattering length that are measurable. In particular, this allows to model an interaction of hard disks.},
author = {Mayer, Simon},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {148},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{The free energy of a dilute two-dimensional Bose gas}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7514},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7629,
abstract = {This thesis is based on three main topics: In the first part, we study convergence of discrete gradient flow structures associated with regular finite-volume discretisations of Fokker-Planck equations. We show evolutionary I convergence of the discrete gradient flows to the L2-Wasserstein gradient flow corresponding to the solution of a Fokker-Planck
equation in arbitrary dimension d >= 1. Along the argument, we prove Mosco- and I-convergence results for discrete energy functionals, which are of independent interest for convergence of equivalent gradient flow structures in Hilbert spaces.
The second part investigates L2-Wasserstein flows on metric graph. The starting point is a Benamou-Brenier formula for the L2-Wasserstein distance, which is proved via a regularisation scheme for solutions of the continuity equation, adapted to the peculiar geometric structure of metric graphs. Based on those results, we show that the L2-Wasserstein space over a metric graph admits a gradient flow which may be identified as a solution of a Fokker-Planck equation.
In the third part, we focus again on the discrete gradient flows, already encountered in the first part. We propose a variational structure which extends the gradient flow structure to Markov chains violating the detailed-balance conditions. Using this structure, we characterise contraction estimates for the discrete heat flow in terms of convexity of
corresponding path-dependent energy functionals. In addition, we use this approach to derive several functional inequalities for said functionals.},
author = {Forkert, Dominik L},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {154},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Gradient flows in spaces of probability measures for finite-volume schemes, metric graphs and non-reversible Markov chains}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7629},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8958,
abstract = {The oft-quoted dictum by Arthur Schawlow: ``A diatomic molecule has one atom too many'' has been disavowed. Inspired by the possibility to experimentally manipulate and enhance chemical reactivity in helium nanodroplets, we investigate the rotation of coupled cold molecules in the presence of a many-body environment.
In this thesis, we introduce new variational approaches to quantum impurities and apply them to the Fröhlich polaron - a quasiparticle formed out of an electron (or other point-like impurity) in a polar medium, and to the angulon - a quasiparticle formed out of a rotating molecule in a bosonic bath.
With this theoretical toolbox, we reveal the self-localization transition for the angulon quasiparticle. We show that, unlike for polarons, self-localization of angulons occurs at finite impurity-bath coupling already at the mean-field level. The transition is accompanied by the spherical-symmetry breaking of the angulon ground state and a discontinuity in the first derivative of the ground-state energy. Moreover, the type of symmetry breaking is dictated by the symmetry of the microscopic impurity-bath interaction, which leads to a number of distinct self-localized states.
For the system containing multiple impurities, by analogy with the bipolaron, we introduce the biangulon quasiparticle describing two rotating molecules that align with respect to each other due to the effective attractive interaction mediated by the excitations of the bath. We study this system from the strong-coupling regime to the weak molecule-bath interaction regime. We show that the molecules tend to have a strong alignment in the ground state, the biangulon shows shifted angulon instabilities and an additional spectral instability, where resonant angular momentum transfer between the molecules and the bath takes place. Finally, we introduce a diagonalization scheme that allows us to describe the transition from two separated angulons to a biangulon as a function of the distance between the two molecules.},
author = {Li, Xiang},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {125},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Rotation of coupled cold molecules in the presence of a many-body environment}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8958},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7525,
abstract = {The medial habenula (MHb) is an evolutionary conserved epithalamic structure important for the modulation of emotional memory. It is involved in regulation of anxiety, compulsive behavior, addiction (nicotinic and opioid), sexual and feeding behavior. MHb receives inputs from septal regions and projects exclusively to the interpeduncular nucleus (IPN). Distinct sub-regions of the septum project to different subnuclei of MHb: the bed nucleus of anterior commissure projects to dorsal MHb and the triangular septum projects to ventral MHb. Furthermore, the dorsal and ventral MHb project to the lateral and rostral/central IPN, respectively. Importantly, these projections have unique features of prominent co-release of different neurotransmitters and requirement of a peculiar type of calcium channel for release. In general, synaptic neurotransmission requires an activity-dependent influx of Ca2+ into the presynaptic terminal through voltage-gated calcium channels. The calcium channel family most commonly involved in neurotransmitter release comprises three members, P/Q-, N- and R-type with Cav2.1, Cav2.2 and Cav2.3 subunits, respectively. In contrast to most CNS synapses that mainly express Cav2.1 and/or Cav2.2, MHb terminals in the IPN exclusively express Cav2.3. In other parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus, Cav2.3 is mostly located to postsynaptic elements. This unusual presynaptic location of Cav2.3 in the MHb-IPN pathway implies unique mechanisms of glutamate release in this pathway. One potential example of such uniqueness is the facilitation of release by GABAB receptor (GBR) activation. Presynaptic GBRs usually inhibit the release of neurotransmitters by inhibiting presynaptic calcium channels. MHb shows the highest expression levels of GBR in the brain. GBRs comprise two subunits, GABAB1 (GB1) and GABAB2 (GB2), and are associated with auxiliary subunits, called potassium channel tetramerization domain containing proteins (KCTD) 8, 12, 12b and 16. Among these four subunits, KCTD12b is exclusively expressed in ventral MHb, and KCTD8 shows the strongest expression in the whole MHb among other brain regions, indicating that KCTD8 and KCTD12b may be involved in the unique mechanisms of neurotransmitter release mediated by Cav2.3 and regulated by GBRs in this pathway.
In the present study, we first verified that neurotransmission in both dorsal and ventral MHb-IPN pathways is mainly mediated by Cav2.3 using a selective blocker of R-type channels, SNX-482. We next found that baclofen, a GBR agonist, has facilitatory effects on release from ventral MHb terminal in rostral IPN, whereas it has inhibitory effects on release from dorsal MHb terminals in lateral IPN, indicating that KCTD12b expressed exclusively in ventral MHb may have a role in the facilitatory effects of GBR activation. In a heterologous expression system using HEK cells, we found that KCTD8 and KCTD12b but not KCTD12 directly bind with Cav2.3. Pre-embedding immunogold electron microscopy data show that Cav2.3 and KCTD12b are distributed most densely in presynaptic active zone in IPN with KCTD12b being present only in rostral/central but not lateral IPN, whereas GABAB, KCTD8 and KCTD12 are distributed most densely in perisynaptic sites with KCTD12 present more frequently in postsynaptic elements and only in rostral/central IPN. In freeze-fracture replica labelling, Cav2.3, KCTD8 and KCTD12b are co-localized with each other in the same active zone indicating that they may form complexes regulating vesicle release in rostral IPN.
On electrophysiological studies of wild type (WT) mice, we found that paired-pulse ratio in rostral IPN of KCTD12b knock-out (KO) mice is lower than those of WT and KCTD8 KO mice. Consistent with this finding, in mean variance analysis, release probability in rostral IPN of KCTD12b KO mice is higher than that of WT and KCTD8 KO mice. Although paired-pulse ratios are not different between WT and KCTD8 KO mice, the mean variance analysis revealed significantly lower release probability in rostral IPN of KCTD8 KO than WT mice. These results demonstrate bidirectional regulation of Cav2.3-mediated release by KCTD8 and KCTD12b without GBR activation in rostral IPN. Finally, we examined the baclofen effects in rostral IPN of KCTD8 and KCTD12b KO mice, and found the facilitation of release remained in both KO mice, indicating that the peculiar effects of the GBR activation in this pathway do not depend on the selective expression of these KCTD subunits in ventral MHb. However, we found that presynaptic potentiation of evoked EPSC amplitude by baclofen falls to baseline after washout faster in KCTD12b KO mice than WT, KCTD8 KO and KCTD8/12b double KO mice. This result indicates that KCTD12b is involved in sustained potentiation of vesicle release by GBR activation, whereas KCTD8 is involved in its termination in the absence of KCTD12b. Consistent with these functional findings, replica labelling revealed an increase in density of KCTD8, but not Cav2.3 or GBR at active zone in rostral IPN of KCTD12b KO mice compared with that of WT mice, suggesting that increased association of KCTD8 with Cav2.3 facilitates the release probability and termination of the GBR effect in the absence of KCTD12b.
In summary, our study provided new insights into the physiological roles of presynaptic Cav2.3, GBRs and their auxiliary subunits KCTDs at an evolutionary conserved neuronal circuit. Future studies will be required to identify the exact molecular mechanism underlying the GBR-mediated presynaptic potentiation on ventral MHb terminals. It remains to be determined whether the prominent presence of presynaptic KCTDs at active zone could exert similar neuromodulatory functions in different pathways of the brain.
},
author = {Bhandari, Pradeep},
issn = {2663-337X},
keywords = {Cav2.3, medial habenula (MHb), interpeduncular nucleus (IPN)},
pages = {79},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Localization and functional role of Cav2.3 in the medial habenula to interpeduncular nucleus pathway}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7525},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7258,
abstract = {Many flows encountered in nature and applications are characterized by a chaotic motion known as turbulence. Turbulent flows generate intense friction with pipe walls and are responsible for considerable amounts of energy losses at world scale. The nature of turbulent friction and techniques aimed at reducing it have been subject of extensive research over the last century, but no definite answer has been found yet. In this thesis we show that in pipes at moderate turbulent Reynolds numbers friction is better described by the power law first introduced by Blasius and not by the Prandtl–von Kármán formula. At higher Reynolds numbers, large scale motions gradually become more important in the flow and can be related to the change in scaling of friction. Next, we present a series of new techniques that can relaminarize turbulence by suppressing a key mechanism that regenerates it at walls, the lift–up effect. In addition, we investigate the process of turbulence decay in several experiments and discuss the drag reduction potential. Finally, we examine the behavior of friction under pulsating conditions inspired by the human heart cycle and we show that under such circumstances turbulent friction can be reduced to produce energy savings.},
author = {Scarselli, Davide},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {174},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{New approaches to reduce friction in turbulent pipe flow}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7258},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7186,
abstract = {Tissue morphogenesis in developmental or physiological processes is regulated by molecular
and mechanical signals. While the molecular signaling cascades are increasingly well
described, the mechanical signals affecting tissue shape changes have only recently been
studied in greater detail. To gain more insight into the mechanochemical and biophysical
basis of an epithelial spreading process (epiboly) in early zebrafish development, we studied
cell-cell junction formation and actomyosin network dynamics at the boundary between
surface layer epithelial cells (EVL) and the yolk syncytial layer (YSL). During zebrafish epiboly,
the cell mass sitting on top of the yolk cell spreads to engulf the yolk cell by the end of
gastrulation. It has been previously shown that an actomyosin ring residing within the YSL
pulls on the EVL tissue through a cable-constriction and a flow-friction motor, thereby
dragging the tissue vegetal wards. Pulling forces are likely transmitted from the YSL
actomyosin ring to EVL cells; however, the nature and formation of the junctional structure
mediating this process has not been well described so far. Therefore, our main aim was to
determine the nature, dynamics and potential function of the EVL-YSL junction during this
epithelial tissue spreading. Specifically, we show that the EVL-YSL junction is a
mechanosensitive structure, predominantly made of tight junction (TJ) proteins. The process
of TJ mechanosensation depends on the retrograde flow of non-junctional, phase-separated
Zonula Occludens-1 (ZO-1) protein clusters towards the EVL-YSL boundary. Interestingly, we
could demonstrate that ZO-1 is present in a non-junctional pool on the surface of the yolk
cell, and ZO-1 undergoes a phase separation process that likely renders the protein
responsive to flows. These flows are directed towards the junction and mediate proper
tension-dependent recruitment of ZO-1. Upon reaching the EVL-YSL junction ZO-1 gets
incorporated into the junctional pool mediated through its direct actin-binding domain.
When the non-junctional pool and/or ZO-1 direct actin binding is absent, TJs fail in their
proper mechanosensitive responses resulting in slower tissue spreading. We could further
demonstrate that depletion of ZO proteins within the YSL results in diminished actomyosin
ring formation. This suggests that a mechanochemical feedback loop is at work during
zebrafish epiboly: ZO proteins help in proper actomyosin ring formation and actomyosin
contractility and flows positively influence ZO-1 junctional recruitment. Finally, such a
mesoscale polarization process mediated through the flow of phase-separated protein
clusters might have implications for other processes such as immunological synapse
formation, C. elegans zygote polarization and wound healing.},
author = {Schwayer, Cornelia},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {107},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Mechanosensation of tight junctions depends on ZO-1 phase separation and flow}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7186},
year = {2019},
}
@phdthesis{6473,
abstract = {Single cells are constantly interacting with their environment and each other, more importantly, the accurate perception of environmental cues is crucial for growth, survival, and reproduction. This communication between cells and their environment can be formalized in mathematical terms and be quantified as the information flow between them, as prescribed by information theory.
The recent availability of real–time dynamical patterns of signaling molecules in single cells has allowed us to identify encoding about the identity of the environment in the time–series. However, efficient estimation of the information transmitted by these signals has been a data–analysis challenge due to the high dimensionality of the trajectories and the limited number of samples. In the first part of this thesis, we develop and evaluate decoding–based estimation methods to lower bound the mutual information and derive model–based precise information estimates for biological reaction networks governed by the chemical master equation. This is followed by applying the decoding-based methods to study the intracellular representation of extracellular changes in budding yeast, by observing the transient dynamics of nuclear translocation of 10 transcription factors in response to 3 stress conditions. Additionally, we apply these estimators to previously published data on ERK and Ca2+ signaling and yeast stress response. We argue that this single cell decoding-based measure of information provides an unbiased, quantitative and interpretable measure for the fidelity of biological signaling processes.
Finally, in the last section, we deal with gene regulation which is primarily controlled by transcription factors (TFs) that bind to the DNA to activate gene expression. The possibility that non-cognate TFs activate transcription diminishes the accuracy of regulation with potentially disastrous effects for the cell. This ’crosstalk’ acts as a previously unexplored source of noise in biochemical networks and puts a strong constraint on their performance. To mitigate erroneous initiation we propose an out of equilibrium scheme that implements kinetic proofreading. We show that such architectures are favored over their equilibrium counterparts for complex organisms despite introducing noise in gene expression. },
author = {Cepeda Humerez, Sarah A},
issn = {2663-337X},
keywords = {Information estimation, Time-series, data analysis},
pages = {135},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Estimating information flow in single cells}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:6473},
year = {2019},
}
@phdthesis{6681,
abstract = {The first part of the thesis considers the computational aspects of the homotopy groups πd(X) of a topological space X. It is well known that there is no algorithm to decide whether the fundamental group π1(X) of a given finite simplicial complex X is trivial. On the other hand, there are several algorithms that, given a finite simplicial complex X that is simply connected (i.e., with π1(X) trivial), compute the higher homotopy group πd(X) for any given d ≥ 2.
However, these algorithms come with a caveat: They compute the isomorphism type of πd(X), d ≥ 2 as an abstract finitely generated abelian group given by generators and relations, but they work with very implicit representations of the elements of πd(X). We present an algorithm that, given a simply connected space X, computes πd(X) and represents its elements as simplicial maps from suitable triangulations of the d-sphere Sd to X. For fixed d, the algorithm runs in time exponential in size(X), the number of simplices of X. Moreover, we prove that this is optimal: For every fixed d ≥ 2,
we construct a family of simply connected spaces X such that for any simplicial map representing a generator of πd(X), the size of the triangulation of S d on which the map is defined, is exponential in size(X).
In the second part of the thesis, we prove that the following question is algorithmically undecidable for d < ⌊3(k+1)/2⌋, k ≥ 5 and (k, d) ̸= (5, 7), which covers essentially everything outside the meta-stable range: Given a finite simplicial complex K of dimension k, decide whether there exists a piecewise-linear (i.e., linear on an arbitrarily fine subdivision of K) embedding f : K ↪→ Rd of K into a d-dimensional Euclidean space.},
author = {Zhechev, Stephan Y},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {104},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Algorithmic aspects of homotopy theory and embeddability}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:6681},
year = {2019},
}
@phdthesis{6392,
abstract = {The regulation of gene expression is one of the most fundamental processes in living systems. In recent years, thanks to advances in sequencing technology and automation, it has become possible to study gene expression quantitatively, genome-wide and in high-throughput. This leads to the possibility of exploring changes in gene expression in the context of many external perturbations and their combinations, and thus of characterising the basic principles governing gene regulation. In this thesis, I present quantitative experimental approaches to studying transcriptional and protein level changes in response to combinatorial drug treatment, as well as a theoretical data-driven approach to analysing thermodynamic principles guiding transcription of protein coding genes.
In the first part of this work, I present a novel methodological framework for quantifying gene expression changes in drug combinations, termed isogrowth profiling. External perturbations through small molecule drugs influence the growth rate of the cell, leading to wide-ranging changes in cellular physiology and gene expression. This confounds the gene expression changes specifically elicited by the particular drug. Combinatorial perturbations, owing to the increased stress they exert, influence the growth rate even more strongly and hence suffer the convolution problem to a greater extent when measuring gene expression changes. Isogrowth profiling is a way to experimentally abstract non-specific, growth rate related changes, by performing the measurement using varying ratios of two drugs at such concentrations that the overall inhibition rate is constant. Using a robotic setup for automated high-throughput re-dilution culture of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the budding yeast, I investigate all pairwise interactions of four small molecule drugs through sequencing RNA along a growth isobole. Through principal component analysis, I demonstrate here that isogrowth profiling can uncover drug-specific as well as drug-interaction-specific gene expression changes. I show that drug-interaction-specific gene expression changes can be used for prediction of higher-order drug interactions. I propose a simplified generalised framework of isogrowth profiling, with few measurements needed for each drug pair, enabling the broad application of isogrowth profiling to high-throughput screening of inhibitors of cellular growth and beyond. Such high-throughput screenings of gene expression changes specific to pairwise drug interactions will be instrumental for predicting the higher-order interactions of the drugs.
In the second part of this work, I extend isogrowth profiling to single-cell measurements of gene expression, characterising population heterogeneity in the budding yeast in response to combinatorial drug perturbation while controlling for non-specific growth rate effects. Through flow cytometry of strains with protein products fused to green fluorescent protein, I discover multiple proteins with bi-modally distributed expression levels in the population in response to drug treatment. I characterize more closely the effect of an ionic stressor, lithium chloride, and find that it inhibits the splicing of mRNA, most strongly affecting ribosomal protein transcripts and leading to a bi-stable behaviour of a small ribosomal subunit protein Rps22B. Time-lapse microscopy of a microfluidic culture system revealed that the induced Rps22B heterogeneity leads to preferential survival of Rps22B-low cells after long starvation, but to preferential proliferation of Rps22B-high cells after short starvation. Overall, this suggests that yeast cells might use splicing of ribosomal genes for bet-hedging in fluctuating environments. I give specific examples of how further exploration of cellular heterogeneity in yeast in response to external perturbation has the potential to reveal yet-undiscovered gene regulation circuitry.
In the last part of this thesis, a re-analysis of a published sequencing dataset of nascent elongating transcripts is used to characterise the thermodynamic constraints for RNA polymerase II (RNAP) elongation. Population-level data on RNAP position throughout the transcribed genome with single nucleotide resolution are used to infer the sequence specific thermodynamic determinants of RNAP pausing and backtracking. This analysis reveals that the basepairing strength of the eight nucleotide-long RNA:DNA duplex relative to the basepairing strength of the same sequence when in DNA:DNA duplex, and the change in this quantity during RNA polymerase movement, is the key determinant of RNAP pausing. This is true for RNAP pausing while elongating, but also of RNAP pausing while backtracking and of the backtracking length. The quantitative dependence of RNAP pausing on basepairing energetics is used to infer the increase in pausing due to transcriptional mismatches, leading to a hypothesis that pervasive RNA polymerase II pausing is due to basepairing energetics, as an evolutionary cost for increased RNA polymerase II fidelity.
This work advances our understanding of the general principles governing gene expression, with the goal of making computational predictions of single-cell gene expression responses to combinatorial perturbations based on the individual perturbations possible. This ability would substantially facilitate the design of drug combination treatments and, in the long term, lead to our increased ability to more generally design targeted manipulations to any biological system. },
author = {Lukacisin, Martin},
isbn = {978-3-99078-001-5},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {103},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Quantitative investigation of gene expression principles through combinatorial drug perturbation and theory}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:6392},
year = {2019},
}
@phdthesis{6435,
abstract = {Social insect colonies tend to have numerous members which function together like a single organism in such harmony that the term ``super-organism'' is often used. In this analogy the reproductive caste is analogous to the primordial germ
cells of a metazoan, while the sterile worker caste corresponds to somatic cells. The worker castes, like tissues, are
in charge of all functions of a living being, besides reproduction. The establishment of new super-organismal units
(i.e. new colonies) is accomplished by the co-dependent castes. The term oftentimes goes beyond a metaphor. We invoke it when we speak about the metabolic rate, thermoregulation, nutrient regulation and gas exchange of a social insect colony. Furthermore, we assert that the super-organism has an immune system, and benefits from ``social immunity''.
Social immunity was first summoned by evolutionary biologists to resolve the apparent discrepancy between the expected high frequency of disease outbreak amongst numerous, closely related tightly-interacting hosts, living in stable and microbially-rich environments, against the exceptionally scarce epidemic accounts in natural populations. Social
immunity comprises a multi-layer assembly of behaviours which have evolved to effectively keep the pathogenic enemies of a colony at bay. The field of social immunity has drawn interest, as it becomes increasingly urgent to stop
the collapse of pollinator species and curb the growth of invasive pests. In the past decade, several mechanisms of
social immune responses have been dissected, but many more questions remain open.
I present my work in two experimental chapters. In the first, I use invasive garden ants (*Lasius neglectus*) to study how pathogen load and its distribution among nestmates affect the grooming response of the group. Any given group of ants will carry out the same total grooming work, but will direct their grooming effort towards individuals
carrying a relatively higher spore load. Contrary to expectation, the highest risk of transmission does not stem from grooming highly contaminated ants, but instead, we suggest that the grooming response likely minimizes spore loss to the environment, reducing contamination from inadvertent pickup from the substrate.
The second is a comparative developmental approach. I follow black garden ant queens (*Lasius niger*) and their colonies from mating flight, through hibernation for a year. Colonies which grow fast from the start, have a lower chance of survival through hibernation, and those which survive grow at a lower pace later. This is true for colonies of naive
and challenged queens. Early pathogen exposure of the queens changes colony dynamics in an unexpected way: colonies from exposed queens are more likely to grow slowly and recover in numbers only after they survive hibernation.
In addition to the two experimental chapters, this thesis includes a co-authored published review on organisational
immunity, where we enlist the experimental evidence and theoretical framework on which this hypothesis is built,
identify the caveats and underline how the field is ripe to overcome them. In a final chapter, I describe my part in
two collaborative efforts, one to develop an image-based tracker, and the second to develop a classifier for ant
behaviour.},
author = {Casillas Perez, Barbara E},
issn = {2663-337X},
keywords = {Social Immunity, Sanitary care, Social Insects, Organisational Immunity, Colony development, Multi-target tracking},
pages = {183},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Collective defenses of garden ants against a fungal pathogen}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:6435},
year = {2019},
}
@phdthesis{6849,
abstract = {Brain function is mediated by complex dynamical interactions between excitatory and inhibitory cell types. The Cholecystokinin-expressing inhibitory cells (CCK-interneurons) are one of the least studied types, despite being suspected to play important roles in cognitive processes. We studied the network effects of optogenetic silencing of CCK-interneurons in the CA1 hippocampal area during exploration and sleep states. The cell firing pattern in response to light pulses allowed us to classify the recorded neurons in 5 classes, including disinhibited and non-responsive pyramidal cell and interneurons, and the inhibited interneurons corresponding to the CCK group. The light application, which inhibited the activity of CCK interneurons triggered wider changes in the firing dynamics of cells. We observed rate changes (i.e. remapping) of pyramidal cells during the exploration session in which the light was applied relative to the previous control session that was not restricted neither in time nor space to the light delivery. Also, the disinhibited pyramidal cells had higher increase in bursting than in single spike firing rate as a result of CCK silencing. In addition, the firing activity patterns during exploratory periods were more weakly reactivated in sleep for those periods in which CCK-interneuron were silenced than in the unaffected periods. Furthermore, light pulses during sleep disrupted the reactivation of recent waking patterns. Hence, silencing CCK neurons during exploration suppressed the reactivation of waking firing patterns in sleep and CCK interneuron activity was also required during sleep for the normal reactivation of waking patterns. These findings demonstrate the involvement of CCK cells in reactivation-related memory consolidation. An important part of our analysis was to test the relationship of the identified CCKinterneurons to brain oscillations. Our findings showed that these cells exhibited different oscillatory behaviour during anaesthesia and natural waking and sleep conditions. We showed that: 1) Contrary to the past studies performed under anaesthesia, the identified CCKinterneurons fired on the descending portion of the theta phase in waking exploration. 2) CCKinterneuron preferred phases around the trough of gamma oscillations. 3) Contrary to anaesthesia conditions, the average firing rate of the CCK-interneurons increased around the peak activity of the sharp-wave ripple (SWR) events in natural sleep, which is congruent with new reports about their functional connectivity. We also found that light driven CCK-interneuron silencing altered the dynamics on the CA1 network oscillatory activity: 1) Pyramidal cells negatively shifted their preferred theta phases when the light was applied, while interneurons responses were less consistent. 2) As a population, pyramidal cells negatively shifted their preferred activity during gamma oscillations, albeit we did not find gamma modulation differences related to the light application when pyramidal cells were subdivided into the disinhibited and unaffected groups. 3) During the peak of SWR events, all but the CCK-interneurons had a reduction in their relative firing rate change during the light application as compared to the change observed at SWR initiation. Finally, regarding to the place field activity of the recorded pyramidal neurons, we showed that the disinhibited pyramidal cells had reduced place field similarity, coherence and spatial information, but only during the light application. The mechanisms behind such observed behaviours might involve eCB signalling and plastic changes in CCK-interneuron synapses. In conclusion, the observed changes related to the light-mediated silencing of CCKinterneurons have unravelled characteristics of this interneuron subpopulation that might change the understanding not only of their particular network interactions, but also of the current theories about the emergence of certain cognitive processes such as place coding needed for navigation or hippocampus-dependent memory consolidation. },
author = {Rangel Guerrero, Dámaris K},
isbn = {9783990780039},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {97},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{The role of CCK-interneurons in regulating hippocampal network dynamics}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:6849},
year = {2019},
}