2013 Student Research Conference:
26th Annual Student Research Conference

A Glazier-Graner-Hogeweg Approach to Model the Embryo of Caenorhabditis elegans
Andrew K. Gibson* and Bryce E. Frazier
Dr. Timothy D. Walston and Dr. Scott Thatcher, Faculty Mentors

Caenorhabditis elegans is a non-parasitic roundworm that is used as a model organism for embryology because it has an uncomplicated body design. We are building upon an existing Glazier-Granier-Hogeweg (GGH) model of the four-cell embryo of C. elegans. The GGH model offers a flexible approach for modeling cellular dynamics. Our model includes cell surface area, cell volume, and cell adhesion in order to replicate the forces influencing cell movement within the embryo. Initial and target values for these parameters were obtained from videos of embryogenesis. The model aims to reproduce cell shape in the four-cell embryo by using a Genetic Algorithm that searches for optimal volume, surface area, and cell adhesion parameters. By accurately modeling the four-cell embryo, our understanding of mutations that affect cell shape and movement could be enhanced. We hope to expand our model to include centrosome movement, use additional geometric measures, and eventually include cell division.

Keywords: Developmental Biology, Microscopy, Caenorhabditis elegans, Interdisciplinary, Computer Science, MathBio Program, Modeling, Cellular Dynamics

Computer Science

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 109-1
Location: MG 2001
Time: 8:00

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