Dr. Mariel Vazquez works to explain mathematically the way DNA strands are knotted, among other tricky problems. She is CAMPOS Professor of Mathematics, Microbiology, and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Davis. While a postdoctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, she received an Exxon Mobil Project NExT Fellowship. She is the 2014 recipient of the Mohammed Dahleh Distinguished Lectureship at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a 2012 recipient of the US Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), and a 2011 National Science Foundation CAREER awardee.
2017 Festival – Connections and Reconnections: A Link Between Mathematics, Physics, and DNA
What does an airplane in flight have in common with the way DNA recombines? Both are examples of modeling reconnection events, which are common in biology, but also in fluid dynamics. DNA rearrangements also arise from radiation damage or in cancer. In both cases scientists use a combination of tools from pure math, computer simulations and visualization, and statistics to analyze experimental data. Dr. Vazquez shares a window into her research, which points the way toward new understandings of our own inner workings.