@phdthesis{69,
abstract = {A qubit, a unit of quantum information, is essentially any quantum mechanical two-level system which can be coherently controlled. Still, to be used for computation, it has to fulfill criteria. Qubits, regardless of the system in which they are realized, suffer from decoherence. This leads to loss of the information stored in the qubit. The upper bound of the time scale on which decoherence happens is set by the spin relaxation time. In this thesis I studied a two-level system consisting of a Zeeman-split hole spin confined in a quantum dot formed in a Ge hut wire. Such Ge hut wires have emerged as a promising material system for the realization of spin qubits, due to the combination of two significant properties: long spin coherence time as expected for group IV semiconductors due to the low hyperfine interaction and a strong valence band spin-orbit coupling. Here, I present how to fabricate quantum dot devices suitable for electrical transport measurements. Coupled quantum dot devices allowed the realization of a charge sensor, which is electrostatically and tunnel coupled to a quantum dot. By integrating the charge sensor into a radio-frequency reflectometry setup, I performed for the first time single-shot readout measurements of hole spins and extracted the hole spin relaxation times in Ge hut wires.},
author = {Vukušić, Lada},
pages = {103},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Charge sensing and spin relaxation times of holes in Ge hut wires}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:TH_1047},
year = {2018},
}
@phdthesis{197,
abstract = {Modern computer vision systems heavily rely on statistical machine learning models, which typically require large amounts of labeled data to be learned reliably. Moreover, very recently computer vision research widely adopted techniques for representation learning, which further increase the demand for labeled data. However, for many important practical problems there is relatively small amount of labeled data available, so it is problematic to leverage full potential of the representation learning methods. One way to overcome this obstacle is to invest substantial resources into producing large labelled datasets. Unfortunately, this can be prohibitively expensive in practice. In this thesis we focus on the alternative way of tackling the aforementioned issue. We concentrate on methods, which make use of weakly-labeled or even unlabeled data. Specifically, the first half of the thesis is dedicated to the semantic image segmentation task. We develop a technique, which achieves competitive segmentation performance and only requires annotations in a form of global image-level labels instead of dense segmentation masks. Subsequently, we present a new methodology, which further improves segmentation performance by leveraging tiny additional feedback from a human annotator. By using our methods practitioners can greatly reduce the amount of data annotation effort, which is required to learn modern image segmentation models. In the second half of the thesis we focus on methods for learning from unlabeled visual data. We study a family of autoregressive models for modeling structure of natural images and discuss potential applications of these models. Moreover, we conduct in-depth study of one of these applications, where we develop the state-of-the-art model for the probabilistic image colorization task.},
author = {Kolesnikov, Alexander},
pages = {113},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Weakly-Supervised Segmentation and Unsupervised Modeling of Natural Images}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:th_1021},
year = {2018},
}
@phdthesis{83,
abstract = {A proof system is a protocol between a prover and a verifier over a common input in which an honest prover convinces the verifier of the validity of true statements. Motivated by the success of decentralized cryptocurrencies, exemplified by Bitcoin, the focus of this thesis will be on proof systems which found applications in some sustainable alternatives to Bitcoin, such as the Spacemint and Chia cryptocurrencies. In particular, we focus on proofs of space and proofs of sequential work.
Proofs of space (PoSpace) were suggested as more ecological, economical, and egalitarian alternative to the energy-wasteful proof-of-work mining of Bitcoin. However, the state-of-the-art constructions of PoSpace are based on sophisticated graph pebbling lower bounds, and are therefore complex. Moreover, when these PoSpace are used in cryptocurrencies like Spacemint, miners can only start mining after ensuring that a commitment to their space is already added in a special transaction to the blockchain. Proofs of sequential work (PoSW) are proof systems in which a prover, upon receiving a statement x and a time parameter T, computes a proof which convinces the verifier that T time units had passed since x was received. Whereas Spacemint assumes synchrony to retain some interesting Bitcoin dynamics, Chia requires PoSW with unique proofs, i.e., PoSW in which it is hard to come up with more than one accepting proof for any true statement. In this thesis we construct simple and practically-efficient PoSpace and PoSW. When using our PoSpace in cryptocurrencies, miners can start mining on the fly, like in Bitcoin, and unlike current constructions of PoSW, which either achieve efficient verification of sequential work, or faster-than-recomputing verification of correctness of proofs, but not both at the same time, ours achieve the best of these two worlds.},
author = {Abusalah, Hamza M},
pages = {59},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Proof systems for sustainable decentralized cryptocurrencies}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:TH_1046},
year = {2018},
}
@phdthesis{9,
abstract = {Immune cells migrating to the sites of infection navigate through diverse tissue architectures and switch their migratory mechanisms upon demand. However, little is known about systemic regulators that could allow the acquisition of these mechanisms. We performed a genetic screen in Drosophila melanogaster to identify regulators of germband invasion by embryonic macrophages into the confined space between the ectoderm and mesoderm. We have found that bZIP circadian transcription factors (TFs) Kayak (dFos) and Vrille (dNFIL3) have opposite effects on macrophage germband infiltration: Kayak facilitated and Vrille inhibited it. These TFs are enriched in the macrophages during migration and genetically interact to control it. Kayak sets a less coordinated mode of migration of the macrophage group and increases the probability and length of Levy walks. Intriguingly, the motility of kayak mutant macrophages was also strongly affected during initial germband invasion but not along another less confined route. Inhibiting Rho1 signaling within the tail ectoderm partially rescued the Kayak mutant phenotype, strongly suggesting that migrating macrophages have to overcome a barrier imposed by the stiffness of the ectoderm. Also, Kayak appeared to be important for the maintenance of the round cell shape and the rear edge translocation of the macrophages invading the germband. Complementary to this, the cortical actin cytoskeleton of Kayak- deficient macrophages was strongly affected. RNA sequencing revealed the filamin Cheerio and tetraspanin TM4SF to be downstream of Kayak. Chromatin immunoprecipitation and immunostaining revealed that the formin Diaphanous is another downstream target of Kayak. Immunostaining revealed that the formin Diaphanous is another downstream target of Kayak. Indeed, Cheerio, TM4SF and Diaphanous are required within macrophages for germband invasion, and expression of constitutively active Diaphanous in macrophages was able to rescue the kayak mutant phenotype. Moreover, Cher and Diaphanous are also reduced in the macrophages overexpressing Vrille. We hypothesize that Kayak, through its targets, increases actin polymerization and cortical tension in macrophages and thus allows extra force generation necessary for macrophage dissemination and migration through confined stiff tissues, while Vrille counterbalances it.},
author = {Belyaeva, Vera},
pages = {96},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Transcriptional regulation of macrophage migration in the Drosophila melanogaster embryo }},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:th1064},
year = {2018},
}
@phdthesis{149,
abstract = {The eigenvalue density of many large random matrices is well approximated by a deterministic measure, the self-consistent density of states. In the present work, we show this behaviour for several classes of random matrices. In fact, we establish that, in each of these classes, the self-consistent density of states approximates the eigenvalue density of the random matrix on all scales slightly above the typical eigenvalue spacing. For large classes of random matrices, the self-consistent density of states exhibits several universal features. We prove that, under suitable assumptions, random Gram matrices and Hermitian random matrices with decaying correlations have a 1/3-Hölder continuous self-consistent density of states ρ on R, which is analytic, where it is positive, and has either a square root edge or a cubic root cusp, where it vanishes. We, thus, extend the validity of the corresponding result for Wigner-type matrices from [4, 5, 7]. We show that ρ is determined as the inverse Stieltjes transform of the normalized trace of the unique solution m(z) to the Dyson equation −m(z) −1 = z − a + S[m(z)] on C N×N with the constraint Im m(z) ≥ 0. Here, z lies in the complex upper half-plane, a is a self-adjoint element of C N×N and S is a positivity-preserving operator on C N×N encoding the first two moments of the random matrix. In order to analyze a possible limit of ρ for N → ∞ and address some applications in free probability theory, we also consider the Dyson equation on infinite dimensional von Neumann algebras. We present two applications to random matrices. We first establish that, under certain assumptions, large random matrices with independent entries have a rotationally symmetric self-consistent density of states which is supported on a centered disk in C. Moreover, it is infinitely often differentiable apart from a jump on the boundary of this disk. Second, we show edge universality at all regular (not necessarily extreme) spectral edges for Hermitian random matrices with decaying correlations.},
author = {Alt, Johannes},
pages = {456},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Dyson equation and eigenvalue statistics of random matrices}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:TH_1040},
year = {2018},
}
@phdthesis{10,
abstract = {Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic process that leads to parent of origin-specific gene expression in a subset of genes. Imprinted genes are essential for brain development, and deregulation of imprinting is associated with neurodevelopmental diseases and the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders. However, the cell-type specificity of imprinting at single cell resolution, and how imprinting and thus gene dosage regulates neuronal circuit assembly is still largely unknown. Here, MADM (Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers) technology was employed to assess genomic imprinting at single cell level. By visualizing MADM-induced uniparental disomies (UPDs) in distinct colors at single cell level in genetic mosaic animals, this experimental paradigm provides a unique quantitative platform to systematically assay the UPD-mediated imbalances in imprinted gene expression at unprecedented resolution. An experimental pipeline based on FACS, RNA-seq and bioinformatics analysis was established and applied to systematically map cell-type-specific ‘imprintomes’ in the mouse brain. The results revealed that parental-specific expression of imprinted genes per se is rarely cell-type-specific even at the individual cell level. Conversely, when we extended the comparison to downstream responses resulting from imbalanced imprinted gene expression, we discovered an unexpectedly high degree of cell-type specificity. Furthermore, we determined a novel function of genomic imprinting in cortical astrocyte production and in olfactory bulb (OB) granule cell generation. These results suggest important functional implication of genomic imprinting for generating cell-type diversity in the brain. In addition, MADM provides a powerful tool to study candidate genes by concomitant genetic manipulation and fluorescent labelling of single cells. MADM-based candidate gene approach was utilized to identify potential imprinted genes involved in the generation of cortical astrocytes and OB granule cells. We investigated p57Kip2, a maternally expressed gene and known cell cycle regulator. Although we found that p57Kip2 does not play a role in these processes, we detected an unexpected function of the paternal allele previously thought to be silent. Finally, we took advantage of a key property of MADM which is to allow unambiguous investigation of environmental impact on single cells. The experimental pipeline based on FACS and RNA-seq analysis of MADM-labeled cells was established to probe the functional differences of single cell loss of gene function compared to global loss of function on a transcriptional level. With this method, both common and distinct responses were isolated due to cell-autonomous and non-autonomous effects acting on genotypically identical cells. As a result, transcriptional changes were identified which result solely from the surrounding environment. Using the MADM technology to study genomic imprinting at single cell resolution, we have identified cell-type-specific gene expression, novel gene function and the impact of environment on single cell transcriptomes. Together, these provide important insights to the understanding of mechanisms regulating cell-type specificity and thus diversity in the brain.},
author = {Laukoter, Susanne},
pages = {1 -- 139},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Role of genomic imprinting in cerebral cortex development}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:th1057},
year = {2018},
}
@phdthesis{323,
abstract = {In the here presented thesis, we explore the role of branched actin networks in cell migration and antigen presentation, the two most relevant processes in dendritic cell biology. Branched actin networks construct lamellipodial protrusions at the leading edge of migrating cells. These are typically seen as adhesive structures, which mediate force transduction to the extracellular matrix that leads to forward locomotion. We ablated Arp2/3 nucleation promoting factor WAVE in DCs and found that the resulting cells lack lamellipodial protrusions. Instead, depending on the maturation state, one or multiple filopodia were formed. By challenging these cells in a variety of migration assays we found that lamellipodial protrusions are dispensable for the locomotion of leukocytes and actually dampen the speed of migration. However, lamellipodia are critically required to negotiate complex environments that DCs experience while they travel to the next draining lymph node. Taken together our results suggest that leukocyte lamellipodia have rather a sensory- than a force transducing function. Furthermore, we show for the first time structure and dynamics of dendritic cell F-actin at the immunological synapse with naïve T cells. Dendritic cell F-actin appears as dynamic foci that are nucleated by the Arp2/3 complex. WAVE ablated dendritic cells show increased membrane tension, leading to an altered ultrastructure of the immunological synapse and severe T cell priming defects. These results point towards a previously unappreciated role of the cellular mechanics of dendritic cells in T cell activation. Additionally, we present a novel cell culture based system for the differentiation of dendritic cells from conditionally immortalized hematopoietic precursors. These precursor cells are genetically tractable via the CRISPR/Cas9 system while they retain their ability to differentiate into highly migratory dendritic cells and other immune cells. This will foster the study of all aspects of dendritic cell biology and beyond. },
author = {Leithner, Alexander F},
pages = {99},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Branched actin networks in dendritic cell biology}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:th_998},
year = {2018},
}
@phdthesis{324,
abstract = {Neuronal networks in the brain consist of two main types of neuron, glutamatergic principal neurons and GABAergic interneurons. Although these interneurons only represent 10–20% of the whole population, they mediate feedback and feedforward inhibition and are involved in the generation of high-frequency network oscillations. A hallmark functional property of GABAergic interneurons, especially of the parvalbumin‑expressing (PV+) subtypes, is the speed of signaling at their output synapse across species and brain regions. Several molecular and subcellular factors may underlie the submillisecond signaling at GABAergic synapses. Such as the selective use of P/Q type Ca2+ channels and the tight coupling between Ca2+ channels and Ca2+ sensors of exocytosis. However, whether the molecular identity of the release sensor contributes to these signaling properties remains unclear. Besides, these interneurons are mainly show depression in response to train of stimuli. How could they keep sufficient release to control the activity of postsynaptic principal neurons during high network activity, is largely elusive. For my Ph.D. work, we firstly examined the Ca2+ sensor of exocytosis at the GABAergic basket cell (BC) to Purkinje cell (PC) synapse in the cerebellum. Immunolabeling suggested that BC terminals selectively expressed synaptotagmin 2 (Syt2), whereas synaptotagmin 1 (Syt1) was enriched in excitatory terminals. Genetic elimination of Syt2 reduced action potential-evoked release to ~10% compared to the wild-type control, identifying Syt2 as the major Ca2+ sensor at BC‑PC synapses. Differential adenovirus-mediated rescue revealed Syt2 triggered release with shorter latency and higher temporal precision, and mediated faster vesicle pool replenishment than Syt1. Furthermore, deletion of Syt2 severely reduced and delayed disynaptic inhibition following parallel fiber stimulation. Thus, the selective use of Syt2 as the release sensor at BC–PC synapse ensures fast feedforward inhibition in cerebellar microcircuits. Additionally, we tested the function of another synaptotagmin member, Syt7, for inhibitory synaptic transmission at the BC–PC synapse. Syt7 is thought to be a Ca2+ sensor that mediates asynchronous transmitter release and facilitation at synapses. However, it is strongly expressed in fast-spiking, PV+ GABAergic interneurons and the output synapses of these neurons produce only minimal asynchronous release and show depression rather than facilitation. How could Syt7, a facilitation sensor, contribute to the depressed inhibitory synaptic transmission needs to be further investigated and understood. Our results indicated that at the BC–PC synapse, Syt7 contributes to asynchronous release, pool replenishment and facilitation. In combination, these three effects ensure efficient transmitter release during high‑frequency activity and guarantee frequency independence of inhibition. Taken together, our results confirmed that Syt2, which has the fastest kinetic properties among all synaptotagmin members, is mainly used by the inhibitory BC‑PC synapse for synaptic transmission, contributing to the speed and temporal precision of transmitter release. Furthermore, we showed that Syt7, another highly expressed synaptotagmin member in the output synapses of cerebellar BCs, is used for ensuring efficient inhibitor synaptic transmission during high activity.},
author = {Chen, Chong},
pages = {110},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Synaptotagmins ensure speed and efficiency of inhibitory neurotransmitter release}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:th_997},
year = {2018},
}
@phdthesis{202,
abstract = {Restriction-modification (RM) represents the simplest and possibly the most widespread mechanism of self/non-self discrimination in nature. In order to provide bacteria with immunity against bacteriophages and other parasitic genetic elements, RM systems rely on a balance between two enzymes: the restriction enzyme, which cleaves non-self DNA at specific restriction sites, and the modification enzyme, which tags the host’s DNA as self and thus protects it from cleavage. In this thesis, I use population and single-cell level experiments in combination with mathematical modeling to study different aspects of the interplay between RM systems, bacteria and bacteriophages. First, I analyze how mutations in phage restriction sites affect the probability of phage escape – an inherently stochastic process, during which phages accidently get modified instead of restricted. Next, I use single-cell experiments to show that RM systems can, with a low probability, attack the genome of their bacterial host and that this primitive form of autoimmunity leads to a tradeoff between the evolutionary cost and benefit of RM systems. Finally, I investigate the nature of interactions between bacteria, RM systems and temperate bacteriophages to find that, as a consequence of phage escape and its impact on population dynamics, RM systems can promote acquisition of symbiotic bacteriophages, rather than limit it. The results presented here uncover new fundamental biological properties of RM systems and highlight their importance in the ecology and evolution of bacteria, bacteriophages and their interactions.},
author = {Pleska, Maros},
pages = {126},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Biology of restriction-modification systems at the single-cell and population level}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:th_916},
year = {2017},
}
@phdthesis{6287,
abstract = {The main objects considered in the present work are simplicial and CW-complexes with vertices forming a random point cloud. In particular, we consider a Poisson point process in R^n and study Delaunay and Voronoi complexes of the first and higher orders and weighted Delaunay complexes obtained as sections of Delaunay complexes, as well as the Čech complex. Further, we examine theDelaunay complex of a Poisson point process on the sphere S^n, as well as of a uniform point cloud, which is equivalent to the convex hull, providing a connection to the theory of random polytopes. Each of the complexes in question can be endowed with a radius function, which maps its cells to the radii of appropriately chosen circumspheres, called the radius of the cell. Applying and developing discrete Morse theory for these functions, joining it together with probabilistic and sometimes analytic machinery, and developing several integral geometric tools, we aim at getting the distributions of circumradii of typical cells. For all considered complexes, we are able to generalize and obtain up to constants the distribution of radii of typical intervals of all types. In low dimensions the constants can be computed explicitly, thus providing the explicit expressions for the expected numbers of cells. In particular, it allows to find the expected density of simplices of every dimension for a Poisson point process in R^4, whereas the result for R^3 was known already in 1970's.},
author = {Nikitenko, Anton},
pages = {86},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Discrete Morse theory for random complexes }},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:th_873},
year = {2017},
}