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My field of interest lies in modeling the dynamics and morphogenesis of multicellular systems, specifically the developing embryo. I have been working with my advisor, Timothy Newman, on developing a computational modeling framework to simulate large numbers of strongly interacting cells in three dimensions. In the model, individual cells are composed of hundreds of "elements" which have short-range visco-elastic interactions. In this way, we are able to capture adaptive cell shape dynamics. At this point we have also shown that the bulk visco-elastic properties of these interacting elements show remarkably good comparison to measurements of micro-rheology experiments on living cells. We are now in a position to apply this model to the developing embryo of a specific organism and we plan to integrate bioinformatics into the model to have highly detailed simulations of embryonic morphogenesis. 

Video and audio of talk:

KITP // Morphodynamics of Plants, Animals and Beyond // August 24 - September 25, 2009