Graduate Research Assistant
NSF IGERT Stem Cell Biomanufacturing Trainee & NSF EBICS Trainee
Co-Advised by Melissa Kemp, PhD
Project Title:
“Computational modeling of the emergent behaviors of 3D stem cell microenvironments”

Biography

Hometown is Bellevue, Washington. I earned my BS in Bioengineering from the University of Washington in 2010. I am currently pursuing a PhD at Georgia Institute of Technology studying Biomedical Engineering. I started my education at Georgia Tech in the Fall of 2010. 

Education

Bachelor of Science
University Washington
2010

Research Interests

Pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESCs) can differentiate into all somatic cell types, making them a useful platform for studying a variety of cellular phenomenon. Furthermore, ESCs can be induced to form aggregates called embryoid bodies (EBs) which recapitulate the dynamics of development and morphogenesis. However, many different factors such as gradients of soluble morphogens, direct cell-to-cell signaling, and cell-matrix interactions have all been implicated in directing ESC differentiation. Though the effects of individual factors have often been investigated independently, the inherent difficulty in assaying combinatorial effects has made it difficult to ascertain the concerted effects of different environmental parameters, particularly due to the spatial and temporal dynamics associated with such cues. Dynamic computational models of ESC differentiation can provide powerful insight into how different cues function in combination both spatially and temporally. By combining particle based diffusion models, cellular agent based approaches, and physical models of morphogenesis, a multi-scale, rules-based modeling framework can provide insight into how each component contributes to differentiation. I am currently using a computational rules based modeling approach to investigate the complex regulatory cues that govern complex morphogenic behavior in 3D ESC systems. The objective of my studies is to examine how spatial patterns of differentiation by ESCs arise as a function of the microenvironment and I hypothesize that spatial control of soluble morphogens and cell-cell signaling will allow enhanced control over the patterns and efficiency of stem cell differentiation in embryoid bodies.  

Awards

Scholar from the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation - 2014
Medtronic Excellence in Modeling Award - 2013
NSF IGERT Trainee in Stem Cell Biomanufacturing
Presidental Scholarship, Georgia Institute of Technology