Mosaic lecturer will discuss DNA topology

March 22, 2022 (Volume 45, Number 14)
Article by Peg West

A nationally recognized expert in DNA topology, a field which lies at the intersection of mathematics and biology, is the featured speaker for the Mosaic Lecture series.

The annual series presented by the Mathematics Department celebrates diversity in the mathematical sciences.

This year, Mariel Vazquez, professor of mathematics as well as of microbiology and molecular genetics at University of California, Davis, will present a lecture, "The Topology of Nucleic Acids." Vazquez will speak at 7 p.m. March 29 in Loutit Lecture Halls 103.

Rene Ardila, assistant professor of mathematics, noted Vazquez is also the director of the Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives at UC Davis.

"Mathematics, as an intrinsic human activity, is richer because of the work of scholars from a variety of diverse backgrounds," Ardila said. "Dr. Vazquez is not only a nationally recognized mathematician and recipient of numerous awards, but she also has been nationally recognized for her work increasing the participation of under-represented minorities in STEM."

Both Ardila and Vazquez said the lecture will be interdisciplinary in nature and accessible to students.

Vazquez said she will address the genetic code, which is contained on long, coiled DNA or RNA molecules within viruses and living organisms.

"Understanding the shape of chromosomes is key to understanding the mechanisms of viral infection and the inner workings of a cell," Vazquez said. "We use techniques from knot theory and topology, aided by discrete and computational methods, to ask questions about the topological state of a genome. I will illustrate the use of these methods with examples drawn from recent work in my group."



Across Campus

This article was last edited on March 22, 2022 at 8:54 a.m.

Related Articles

Campus Links celebrates 10 years of supporting students on the Autism Spectrum

Ten years ago, campus leaders noted both an increase in students who identified as neurodiverse and a lack of campus resources to support them.


June 14, 2022 (Volume 45, Number 18)
Article by Michele Coffill

MiSTEM Network part of collaborative to award grants for water-focused education

Regional Math and Science Center staff members are part of the collaboration, which seeks to integrate Great Lakes and freshwater literacy into educational plans.

June 14, 2022 (Volume 45, Number 18)
Article by Peg West

Amateur radio club connects with five continents from Ludington lighthouse

The 112-foot lighthouse was the perfect backdrop for students and community members to explore amateur radio.

June 14, 2022 (Volume 45, Number 18)
Article by Michele Coffill