My research is focused on modeling signaling pathways that control polarity and migration in animal cells. Certain cells establish distinct front and back signaling pathways either spontaneously or in response to external stimuli. The mathematical mechanism to generate this polarity has been widely hypothesized to be either based on a Turing instability or substrate depletion. Many proteins have been implicated in mediating this process, however the precise nature of their interactions remains an open question.
With experimental collaboration from the Hahn Laboratory I hope to further elucidate these cellular mechanisms. However, to bridge the gap between experimental data and quantitative modeling I have been working on image analysis of biosensor images. I have developed tools to automatically quantify biosensor intensity at the leading edge of cells.
In addition to this I have also been working on modeling cell migration on a different scale. By developing a simple stochastic model of motility I hope to be able to fit experimental data from the Hahn Laboratory. I hope to be able to cluster the data, which is cell tracks taken over the course of several hours, into different groups dependent on only four parameters which are readily interpretable biologically.