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The Biophysics Virtual Seminar Series Presents:

Hong Qian - Olga Jung Wan Endowed Professor of Applied Mathematics, Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Washington

“A Mathematical Principle of Stochastic Chemical Kinetics and

Emergent Chemical Thermodynamics that Applies to Living Cells”

Abstract: In contrast to featureless point masses in Mechanics, a macromolecule in biochemistry has a large number of internal degrees of freedom in terms of atoms. The behavior of even a single protein in an aqueous environment, is often so complex that the mathematical representation of biochemical kinetics has to be statistical. In this talk, I present a stochastic formulation of general chemical reaction systems, with *N* species and *M* stochastic elementary reactions in solution and show how J. W. Gibbs’ macroscopic equilibrium chemical thermodynamics can be derived as a mathematical result, with an entropic force as its center piece. Our theory is actually applicable to mesoscopic open chemical systems with a chemostat, such as a single living cell. I then discuss the application of this theory to understand the notion of non-genetic phenotype switching, in terms of a landscape, in cell differentiation and cancer heterogeneity.