BME researchers develop a simple method for understanding cell population dynamics

March 10, 2021 — A University of Minnesota research team has developed a simpler method for understanding cell states through the generation of energy landscapes. 

Such landscapes provide intuitive visualizations of cell phenotype and help researchers better quantify cellular dynamics, but current methods are mathematically involved and often require specific system properties that don’t always hold. 

The new method produces landscapes with three quantitative features relevant to understanding cell behavior: how stable a cell state is, how quickly a cell transitions between states, and how variable these transitions are.

This may provide new quantitative insights into the dynamics of cell populations and ultimately help researchers better understand and modulate cell behavior for applications ranging from understanding cancer cell proliferation to engineering stem cells.

BME Associate Professor Casim Sarkar was the senior author of the study, which was co-authored by Harish Venkatachalapathy, Chemical Engineering PhD student and BME graduate faculty member Samira Azarin (primary department: Chemical Engineering and Materials Science).

View the study