Current Research Interests

Advisor: Dr. Aaron L. Fogelson

ADP-Dependent Platelet Activation

In collaboration with Dr. Wolfgang Bergmeier (UNC-CH)

A platelet that finds a newly-formed vascular injury must be able to stop, attach firmly to the vessel wall, and recruit other platelets, all under the high-shear environment of blood flow. The receptor αIIbβ3 is vital to the coagulation process that creates thrombi, but at rest it is kept inactive to prevent unwanted blood clots. This project uses a dynamical systems model to examine the intracellular protein kinetics required to activate αIIbβ3 that begin with the binding of ADP to P2Y receptors on the platelet's surface.

Platelet Aggregation Under Flow

Platelets possess a variety of receptors to bind to collagen within injury sites, gel-forming fibrin(ogen), von Willebrand Factor, etc. These bonds apply mechanical forces necessary to stop platelets and keep them stationary when under the shear flow of the blood vessel. This project utilizes numerical solutions to the Navier-Stokes equations and the Immersed Boundary Method to simulate platelets and their mechanical and chemical interactions between themselves and the vessel wall.

Past Experiences

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Traction Force Microscopy

Advisor: Dr. Wesley R. Legant (UNC-CH)
Worked with: Dr. Regan P. Moore (UNC-CH)

Cells exert forces on their 3-D environments to migrate. The improvements to super-resolution microscopy allows us to examine a cell over time and track motion. This project uses the known mechanical properties of a cell's environment to calculate (via inverse problems) the forces exerted by a cell over time.

Antibody/Virion Interactions

Advisors: Dr. Samuel K. Lai, Dr. Gregory M. Forest (UNC-CH)
Worked under: Dr. Timothy Wessler (UMich)

Broadly neutrilizing antibodies found in the cervico-vaginal mucus have been shown to have weak affinity to mucin monomers. This project seeks to determine properties of Ab that maximize the trapping and neutrilizing of HIV virions before entering the body.

Molecular Motor Transport

Advisors: Dr. Jay M. Newby (U Alberta), Dr. Gregory M. Forest (UNC-CH), Dr. Samuel K. Lai
Worked with: Dr. Shengtan Mao (UNC-CH)

Kinesin molecular motor proteins transport cargo several times larger than itself by "walking" down microtubules. Single motors are known to detach from the microtubule often, yet the overal transport process is extremely efficient. This project examines the effect of cooperation among molecular motors in transporting cargo from both a stochastic and deterministic standpoint.

Patel KB, Mao S, Lai SK, Forest GM, Newby JM. Limited Processivity of Single Motors Improves Overall Transport Flux of Self-Assembled Motor-Cargo Complexes. Physical Review E. 100:022408. (2019)