CAREER: Data-Driven Models for Biological Dynamics

Project: Research project

Description

The living cell is an active environment where large biological molecules (such as proteins or DNA) move, collide and react. Current experiments observe these processes indirectly in living systems and as a result, interpreting data from indirect observation is a key challenge in understanding and mathematically describing what happens inside cells. The proposed work will contribute to the development of quantitative biology by considering how data-driven models can be inferred from currently available experimental data. This modeling will produce novel theoretical frameworks to capture how the diffusion of biomolecules and their fluctuating shapes ultimately sustain life. Activities focused on the intersection of biology and physics will be undertaken with the goal of advancing science literacy. A new introductory course in biophysics will be developed for a wide audience, and several outreach activities will be undertaken.

Undergraduate and high school students will be engaged in the research through the American Chemical Society Project SEED, with special emphasis placed on recruiting women and students from underprivileged backgrounds. A Summer Camp Program (for ages 8-12) will be held at the Indianapolis
Zoo on the subject "The Bacterial Serengeti: exploring the bacterial fauna".

The project has two overall goals: 1) Extracting models of conformational dynamics of single molecules (from single molecule force spectroscopy) that will help go beyond the Markov model paradigm and characterize conformational memory of biomolecules linking dynamics and function in nascent chains, folded proteins under varying conditions, as well as active (ATP-hydrolyzing) motors; 2) Developing data-driven frameworks for intracellular anomalous diffusion in the complex crowded cellular environment directly from fluorescence correlation spectroscopy.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date10/1/161/31/21

Funding

  • NSF: Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO): $997,682.00

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Biomolecules
Molecules
Spectroscopy
Biophysics
Students
Proteins
Physics
Adenosine Triphosphate
Fluorescence
Cells
Data storage equipment
DNA
Experiments