Computational modeling is crucial in bridging experimental biology and insights from physics. Progression of cancer, whether at the intra- or inter-cellular scales, is a prime example of complexity, with system-level behavior emerging from the interactions of large numbers of smaller components. Therefore, in applying the quantitative methodologies from physics, it will be necessary to invoke large-scale computational models. The Center for Biological Physics (CBP) at ASU has significant faculty expertise in computational modeling of biological systems, ranging from protein folding, to cell biomechanics, to multicellular development. The Director of the CBP, Dr. Timothy Newman, will serve two key roles. First, he will apply his own simulation platform - the Subcellular Element Model (SEM) - to projects 1 and 3 of this proposal. The SEM will be used to gauge cell biomechanics under perturbation from an AFM tip (project 1), and be used to infer mutations in cytoskeletal properties from pathological cell and nuclear morphologies (project 3). Second, Newman will help coordinate the future use of theoretical expertise within the CBP with other Centers within the network. The large-scale computational demands of this Core will be provided by the ASU High Performance Computing Initiative (HPCI), directed by Dr. Daniel Stanzione. The HPCI provides nearly 5000 nodes and vast data storage services. The HPCI also provides expert algorithm development services from its team of software specialists.
Cancer progression is a complex and multi-scale process. Large-scale computational modeling of intracellular biomechanics, and multicellular tumor growth, provides a systematic way to bridge experimental results and biological intuition at different scales.
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