BioPACIFIC MIP Research: SET 3 - Functional Biomimics
What is your research focus?
My research focuses on learning (a) the way that cell-cell interactions affect cell alignment and (b) the relationship between cell-substrate interactions and cell alignment. This research topic is important as we can design the artificial substrate materials for therapeutic biomaterials if we understand the way that cells work, specifically how they interact with each other and the environment. In addition, while previous research mainly focusing on static quantification for cells, we would like to learn how the cell-cell and cell-substrate interactions affect dynamically, which we expect can give us more useful information. To understand these goals, we would like to (a) use data of video microscopy to build up tools for estimating the motion of cells and (b) construct statistical models for the connection of substrate and cell alignments. From the description above, it is clear that our research is closely connected with SET 3 and SET 4 and the broader mission of BioPACIFIC MIP. If we finally achieve our goal, meaning that we understand more about movement of cells and build the model, then this knowledge can be used in engineering material and biomaterial designs. We hope at the end we could also implement a software, so that anyone interested in this topic can use it.
What excites you about NSF BioPACIFIC MIP?
My interests in statistic and mathematic arose when I was young. Because of that, I majored in Applied Math for my undergraduate study, Statistics for masters and now I continue in PhD program in Statistics. However, besides exploring the beauty of the theoretical materials, I would also like to apply my knowledge to real world problem, which can give me more motivation in discovering new things. To me, math and statistics is a tool. Only if we can integrate them with the domain knowledge of other fields, these toolsets can achieve their greatest value. Thus, if I can really research on some topics that would be useful, I would be enthusiastic and satisfied. BioPACIFIC MIP program emerged as a stellar match for my specific interest. The program aimed to use scientific expertise in synthetic biology, which can possibly advance the sustainable production, which could be used generally. Specifically, our current research of cells interests me, and I believe I could utilize these tools well in the research.