Supplement: Biomolecular Feedback Systems

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Biological systems make use of feedback in an extraordinary number of ways, on scales ranging from molecules to cells to organisms to ecosystems. This page collects information on the analysis of feedback systems in biology. What is currently connected here are working notes on the supplement and links to further information. This information is in progress; comments and constructive suggestions are welcome and can be sent to Richard Murray.

Molecular Biology (Del Vecchio and Murray)

The text contains a number of examples and exercises related to some of the molecular mechanisms for feedback within cells. These examples are being expanded into a set of notes by Domitilla Del Vecchio and Richard Murray based on a variety of presentations, lectures and notes.

Tentative outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Modeling
    • Review of cell biology basics
    • Chemical kinetics, Michaelis-Menten, Hill functions
    • Signaling cascades
    • Standard elements (repressor, activator, combinatorial promotors, etc)
    • Additional topics (time delays)
  3. Regulation in cells
    • Proportional control: activation and repression (+ demand theory)
    • Integral compensation (chemotaxis)
    • Allosteric regulation
  1. Robustness and limits of performance
    • Autocatalysis and right half plane zeros
  2. Biological switches and oscillators
  3. Modularity and synthetic biology

Some of the examples for this material will be pulled from tutorial presentations on control given at systems biology workshops:

Microbial Ecosystems

Integrative Biology


Summarize work of Full, Holmes et al showing role of dynamics and feedback in insect locomotion.

Insect Flight

Summarize work of Dickinson, Srinivasan et al show mechanisms for visual sensoring processing and sensor fusion in insect flight.

Motor Control Systems

Summarize work on Massaquoi from CSHL course.

Additional Information