Statistics, Ecology and Evolution, Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology, the College; University of Chicago, Chicago (IL) US
John Reinitz is currently researching how animals build their own bodies from a fertilized egg under the control of genes. This scientific problem requires an understanding of how biological pattern arises from nonpattern under stringent constraints of natural selection. Using a tightly integrated program of mathematics, computation, and experiment, he has developed a nested set of mathematical models of gene regulation and development that can be used to understand how DNA sequence determines bodily form. At the finest scale, these models are concerned with the logical code of genetic regulation—how DNA sequence determines how genes get turned on and off. At a coarser scale, Reinitz uses differential equations to model how the body pattern forms over time, and gains insight into the behavior of these models using the mathematics of dynamical systems.