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Tamara Bidone

Current Research

Computational methods have permeated the field of biology in the last decades. With the increase of computer power and simulation techniques, computational biology now reveals entirely novel concepts of cell dynamics and functions that cannot be extracted by traditional cell biology methods. For example, models of the cell cytoskeleton, which provides cells with shape and resistance to deformation, can now explain the origin of the viscoelastic properties of cells. Similarly, computational simulations of the formation of a contractile ring for cell division provide a framework to understand how disorder-to-order cell dynamics occur during cytokinesis, when cytoskeleton proteins reorganize from a random architecture into an organized bundle.

My current research is in the field of cellular and molecular biomechanics. I develop computational methods in order to understand how emergent properties of cells arise by transient interactions between subcellular components. I have experience in computational biomechanics, biophysics and computational chemistry. I currently develop numerical models of transmembrane receptors for cell mechanosensing, actomyosin contractility and stress transmission.

Our lab at the SCI institute and the Department of Bioengineering will start in January 2019. It will provide a highly interdisciplinary environment, where principles from applied mathematics, statistics, biophysics, computer science and visualization will be used in order to probe the dynamic interactions between cellular structures and components in a quantitative manner, with the ability to make experimentally testable predictions. We will work in collaboration with experimental groups at the University of Utah and other institutions.

Based upon the need for understanding biological mechanisms in both cell physiology and pathology, our lab will have four synergistic focus groups:
- computational models of adhesions in wound healing and cancer cells
- molecular and coarse-grained simulations of actin filaments and bundles
- mesoscale models of virus and drug encapsulation within the cell cytoskeleton
- 3D models of carcinoma cell migration in fibrous matrices