UNC- Chapel Hill
Sai Sai Phanindra Venkatapurapu
Graduate Student

I am interested in studying biological phenomenon using computational and mathematical tools. Currently I am investigating the factors involved in accurate gradient sensing by yeast. Budding yeast, which exists as two different cell types, reproduce sexually by fusion. To facilitate this process, cell secrete mating factor, pheromone, which is recognized by a cell of opposite mating type. The response of a cell to pheromone depends on the total concentration of pheromone as well as its gradient across the cell. Under low concentration of pheromone, cells bud normally. Directed/elongated growth towards the mating partner (region with higher pheromone concentration) occurs at intermediate levels of pheromone. To facilitate fusion, cells acquire shmoo-like morphology at high levels of pheromone.

Yeast cells are known to sense pheromone gradient accurately. The pheromone pathway in yeast is one of the well-studied signaling systems. Using mathematical modeling, I am trying to decipher the aspects of the pheromone pathway responsible for accurate gradient sensing.

Educational background:

B.Tech in Biotechnology, May 2008
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India. (www.iitg.ernet.in/biotech)