Molecular Biomechanics Lab

The Keywords

biomechanics, microtubule dynamics, MATLAB, stochastic modeling

The Essence of What I Did

I created a sophisticated MATLAB GUI to model microtubule dynamics to be used to verify results of in-vitro experiments. (2017-2018)

I compared multiple stochastic models of microtubule dynamics to create a multifaceted experimental simulator in MATLAB. (2016-2017)

The Project Background

Dr. Will Hancock, Dept. of Bioengineering, Penn State University

Microtubules are tubular polymers that support the cytoskeleton.  But, they’re dynamic structures that rapidly dis/assemble due primarily to GTP hydrolysis.  Clinically, some oncology drugs, like Taxol, are microtubule depolymerization inhibitors; these drugs prevent the microtubule from shrinking, so the cell can’t form the mitotic spindles it needs for mitosis.  Ultimately,  these drugs cause cancer cell apoptosis.

My research focused on predicting microtubule dynamics trends in-silica to use as an experimental verification system for other projects within the MBL.  I learned MATLAB to conduct this research and have worked independently and with a partner.  I also participated in the lab’s weekly journal club that discusses relevant cell bio literature.