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Computational Modeling of Cell Mechanics and Signaling

Michael Sacks, UT Austin

Dan Howsmon, UT Austin

Unlike most engineering materials, living materials actively respond to their surrounding, which is driven by cells sensing their local microenvironment and subsequently altering their behavior. Examples of this phenomena are widespread and include T cells generating an immune response to pathogens but tolerating commensal bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and heart valve cells remodeling their surrounding extracellular matrix in response to altered mechanical microenvironments. Cell signalling networks often involve many interacting pathways that lead to complex and highly non-linear mathematical relationships between cues in the microenvironment and subsequent cellular response. This complexity and nonlinearity makes integrating mathematical models of cell signalling networks into both multicellular and macroscale computational biomechanics models very difficult. The focus of this minisymposium is on both modeling cell signalling itself, and implementing strategies towards integrating aspects of cell signalling networks into multiscale computational biomechanical models of biological systems. This mini-symposium invites research contributions on theoretical, computational, and experimental approaches towards better understanding cell signalling, and better addressing the associated challenges of incorporating cell signalling into computational models of living systems.