Navigation Links
Researchers create mathematical model of fruit fly eyes
Date:1/11/2008

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Many researchers have tried to create a mathematical model of how cells pack together to form tissue, but most models have many different complicated factors, and no model is universal.

Researchers at Northwestern University have now created a functional equation -- using only two parameters -- to show how cells pack together to create the eyes of Drosophila, better known as the fruit fly. They hope that the pared-down equation can be applied to different kinds of tissues, leading to advances in regenerative medicine.

Sascha Hilgenfeldt, associate professor of engineering sciences and applied mathematics and of mechanical engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, teamed up with Richard W. Carthew, professor of biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and Sinem Erisken, a McCormick undergraduate studying biomedical engineering, to create the model. Their work was published online Jan. 11 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The interdisciplinary effort among geneticists, engineers and mathematicians began 18 months ago, when Hilgenfeldt, who specializes in foam, soft matter and fluid mechanics, teamed with Carthew, who has studied the biological features of fruit fly eyes.

Hilgenfeldt knew that when it comes to creating a model that shows what determines the shape of functional cells in tissues, the myriad factors -- including the bulk of the cell, whats going on inside of the cell and how the cell forms -- make it very difficult to quantify.

Thats a nightmare for quantitative scientists, he said. Its extremely complicated.

But the cells in a fruit flys eye act more like foam in that the structure of the cells depends only on the energy of their interfaces, or the surface where the cells touch. That energy is divided into two parts -- the energy from the stretching of the cells membranes and the energy of the glue (the adhesion molecules) that holds the neighboring cell membranes together. Hilgenfeldt took those two factors and created a quantitative model of cell geometries in the fruit fly retina. So instead of needing to know all the different cell factors to create the model, he just needed the two energy components to create the model.

Its one of the most quantitative models Ive seen for a biological system, Hilgenfeldt said. For this system, mainly all you need to know is the interfacial energies and everything falls into place.

Such a model helps researchers understand how the presence of the glue energy changes the shape of the eye and will help them study how those adhesion molecules develop and function during embryo development.

Further down the road, having these kinds of models could help scientists learn how to grow regenerative tissues. Hilgenfeldt also hopes to see how far he can take this model -- testing whether it will work in tissues that have much more variation in their cell patterns.

It is very promising for quantitative science to be able to do something about these complex biological systems, he said.

Though the undergraduate student who worked on the research has graduated, Hilgenfeldt said another undergraduate student will help continue the research through the Research Training Group (RTG) program in applied mathematics. The program emphasizes interdisciplinary research with teams composed of applied mathematicians, scientists and engineers. It is funded by a $2.1 million National Science Foundation grant.

This is precisely what the grant is supposed to do, Hilgenfeldt said. Interdisciplinary work across all the stages of academic life -- from undergrad to faculty.


'/>"/>

Contact: Megan Fellman
fellman@northwestern.edu
847-491-3115
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers identify proteins involved in new neurodegenerative syndrome
2. Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
3. MGH researchers describe new way to identify, evolve novel enzymes
4. University of Pennsylvania researchers develop formula to gauge risk of disease clusters
5. U of MN researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
6. U of Minnesota researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
7. Researchers discover new strategies for antibiotic resistance
8. Researchers find new taste in fruit flies: carbonated water
9. Binghamton University researchers investigate evolving malaria resistance
10. UIC researchers find promising new targets for antibiotics
11. Researchers develop simple method to create natural drug products
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/30/2017)... June 30, 2017 Today, American Trucking ... supplier of face and eye tracking software, became ... provider program. "Artificial intelligence and ... to monitor a driver,s attentiveness levels while on ... able to detect fatigue and prevent potential accidents, ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing several ... dedicated to developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, taking ... During the event, nine startups will showcase the solutions they ... industries. France is ... with a 30 percent increase in the number of startups ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... May 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ... age and identity verification solutions, announced today they will ... 2017, May 15 thru May 17, 2017, in ... International Trade Center. Identity impacts the ... in today,s quickly evolving digital world, defining identity is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/24/2017)... ... July 24, 2017 , ... ... today announced that the stock market news outlet had initiated coverage on ... testing that screens and identifies exposure, progression and risk analysis from specific ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... ... July 20, 2017 , ... Dr. Asher Kimchi, Founder and ... of the 2017 IAC Awards at the 22nd World Congress on Heart Disease held ... four faculty to receive the Distinguished Fellowship Awards. , Dr. Asher Kimchi, together with ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... , ... July 20, 2017 , ... ... seminar on digital pathology and artificial intelligence Tuesday, July 25, during the Association ... Baras from Johns Hopkins Medicine. , Baras, Associate Director of Pathology Informatics, ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Crucial Data Solutions (CDS) is excited to ... unified. TrialKit, a native mobile app, empowers investigators and clinicians to build, deploy, ... mobile devices. With TrialKit, clinical researchers can utilize Core Motion technologies and Apple’s ...
Breaking Biology Technology: