SCS Faculty Candidate

  • Gates Hillman Centers
  • ASA Conference Room 6115
  • Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Department of Bioinformatics
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Regulation of Intracellular Signaling via Cellular Morphology

Signaling is governed not only by the expression levels of molecules, but by their localization via mechanisms as diverse as compartmentalization in organelles, phase separation, and directed transport by motor proteins. Cell morphology likely also modulates the localization of signaling molecules, and recent advances in high-resolution light-sheet microscopy, such as lattice light-sheet microscopy, now allow imaging at the spatiotemporal resolution needed to capture the many undulations and quick dynamics of the 3D cell surface. However, these microscopes generate large datasets with detailed 3D movies that are impossible to interpret without a dedicated computational pipeline. In this seminar, I will introduce u-shape3D, a computer graphics and machine-learning pipeline to probe molecular mechanisms underlying 3D cell morphogenesis. U-shape3D includes a generic morphological motif detector that automatically finds lamellipodia, filopodia, blebs and other motifs in order to test the intriguing possibility that morphogenesis itself affects intracellular signaling.

Meghan Driscoll is finishing her postdoctoral research in Gaudenz Danuser’s lab at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Her research focuses on investigating the function of cell morphology. As a postdoc, she developed a workflow to analyze the coupling of cell morphology with intracellular signaling. This workflow uses techniques from machine learning and computer graphics to enable analysis of high-resolution light-sheet microscopy images of cells embedded in 3D microenvironments. As a Ph.D. student in Wolfgang Losert’s lab, she studied the interaction of amoeboid cells with simple fabricated substrates, such as cliffs, ridges, and ratchets. She received a B.S. in Physics from Harvey Mudd College and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Maryland, College Park. She plans to establish a laboratory that will use cutting-edge approaches to investigate how 3D cell morphology governs intracellular signaling.

Faculty Host: Robert Murphy

Computational Biology Department

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