Self-polarization, rapid migration and turning of motile cells

Alex Mogilner, New York University IAM Distinguished Alumni Lecture
December 3, 2018 4:00 pm LSK 460

URL for Speaker:

Abstract: Cell migration is a fundamentally important phenomenon underlying wound healing, tissue development, immune response and cancer metastasis. Understanding basic physics of the cell migration presented a great challenge until, in the last three decades, a combination of biological, biophysical and mathematical approaches shed light on basic mechanisms of the cell migration. I will describe models, based on nonlinear partial differential equations and free boundary problems, which predicted that individual cells do not linger in a symmetric stationary state for too long, but rather spontaneously break symmetry and initiate motility. The cells can either crawl straight, or turn, depending on mechanical parameters. I will show how experimental data supported the models, and I will also review current computational challenges.

Bio: Prof. Alex Mogilner received M.Eng. degree in Engineering Physics in 1985 from the Ural Polytechnic Institute. He received PhD degree in Physics from the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1990. He did research in Mathematical Physics until 1992, when he started studying Mathematical Biology at the University of British Columbia. After receiving PhD degree (adviser Leah Edelstein-Keshet) in Applied Mathematics from UBC in 1995, Alex worked at UC Berkeley with George Oster as a postdoctoral researcher, and in 1996 he came to the Math Department at the University of California at Davis as an Assistant Professor. He became an Associate professor in 1999, and in 2002 he became a Professor at the Department of Mathematics and Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior at UC Davis. Since 2014, Dr. Mogilner is a Professor of Mathematics and Biology at Courant Institute and Department of Biology at the New York University. Alex’s areas of expertise include Mathematical Biology, Cell Biology and Biophysics; he does research on mathematical and computational modeling of cell motility, cell division and galvanotaxis. Alex published about 130 papers in high impact journals including Nature, Science, PNAS. He developed models of keratocyte motility, polymerization ratchet, and search-and-capture mechanism of spindle assembly. His research is/was supported by NIH and NSF grants, Army Office of Research and by United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation. Alex served on editorial boards of many journals including Cell, Biophysical Journal, Current Biology, Journal of Cell Biology, Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, Molecular Biology of the Cell. He gave plenary talks and organized many international conferences on mathematical biology and cell biophysics, and taught at many summer schools. Dr. Mogilner was a panel chair at NIH.