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Multiscale Dynamics of Biological Systems (2011-2013)

Biological systems involve dynamics in a fundamental way, spanning many orders of magnitude in time with corresponding multi-scale spatial structures. Our work explores the complex interactions of temporal and spatial degrees of freedom using the modern tools of physical and mathematical sciences to make quantitative predictions about biological systems. Our research spans length scales from nano-meters to millimeters, ranging from individual bio-molecules through complex phenomena within a single cell to the behavior of group of cells. At the molecular level, we explore how the diversity of biological molecules such as DNA, RNA, or proteins arises from competing deterministic energy scales associated with chemical bonds, mechanical bending/breaking, and electro-magnetic interactions and stochastic thermal energy. These insights guide our computational modeling of proteins and membrane function with applications to bio-fuel production. At the cellular level, we apply coarse-graining methods over parts of the complex cellular bio-chemical kinetics to produce reduced models of gene regulation, expression and differentiation. We also develop phenomenological models of cell regulatory processes that allow effective descriptions of cell functions without precise correspondence to microscopic detail. For intercellular interactions, we study models of interacting neurons that form the basis for image recognition and cognitive reasoning.

Focus Areas

  • Macromolecules – Dynamics at the Nano-Scale
  • Cellular Dynamics and Function
  • Cooperative Cellular Interactions