Pablo A. Iglesias and Sayak Bhattacharya

Research by a team that included Pablo A. Iglesias, Edward J. Schaefer Professor, and fifth-year PhD student Sayak Bhattacharya, both of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was recently featured on the cover of Molecular Systems Biology’s March issue. Iglesias and Bhattacharya collaborated with Yuchuan Miao and Peter N. Devreotes of the School of Medicine’s Department of Cell Biology on the paper.

Their study, “Wave patterns organize cellular protrusions and control cortical dynamics,” focuses on wave theory within cells. The ability to control such waves, including their size and how quickly they move, could eventually lead to better treatment of some injuries and illnesses, the researchers say.

“Cell migration is present in many physiological processes—wound healing, for example. When you have a cut, white blood cells travel to that location and heal it. If you could engage these white blood cells and make them faster, they can get to the injury more quickly,” Bhattacharya said. “The idea that we can actually control cells this way is something we are trying to get to as wide an audience as we can, so having a pictorial representation on the cover of a magazine really helps.”

Iglesias said that this project is notable not only for the interesting results and attention the study is getting, but also for how seamlessly the research was carried out.

“What is really nice is that this is one of the few times that we can make theoretical predictions, go and test them, and it turns out what we predicted came to fruition,” Iglesias said. “A lot of times you make predictions but you don’t have the means for doing the changes in the cell you want. In this case, it has worked out really well. We are fortunate to have fantastic experimental collaborators at the School of Medicine – together we make a great team”

Follow this link to check out the full article!

Molecular Systems Biology album cover, illustration by Uta Mackensen