Dynamics of biopolymers across multiple scales (22frg264)


(The Ohio State University)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "Dynamics of Biopolymers across Multiple Scales" workshop in Banff from May 22, 2022 to May 29, 2022.

Cells rely on an internal network of biopolymers to provide structural support and scaffolding for a diverse set of biological processes. Actin is one such biopolymer, capable of orchestrating higher order processes that ultimately drive macroscale behaviour including cell motility. Actin polymer filaments, in addition to the proteins that act upon these structures, form an interconnected biological meshwork displaying complex and heterogeneous spatiotemporal dynamics. The actin polymers continuously remodel both themselves and the meshwork they form, resulting in a dense network with various micro-structures. Mathematical models provide a powerful method to gain insight into and create predictions of fundamental mechanisms underlying observable phenomena. However, a unique challenge is presented in modelling semi-flexible polymers in an active-matter system existing across a broad length scale, spanning from the level of protein molecular interactions to the moving, whole-cell level.

The purpose of this Focused Research Group is to bring together a team of women in mathematical biology to develop connected stochastic and continuum models to represent actin dynamics at the micro- and macro-scales, respectively. These mathematical formulations incorporate biologically relevant parameters and link large-scale behaviour, inferred from experimental observations, to small-scale, local interactions. We implement concrete measures to bridge these micro-macro scale representations and subsequently investigate the sensitivity of these measures to changes in the parameter space. Taken together, these models predict time-resolved evolution of the actin network by connecting actin dynamics across scales. The jointed models will enable exploration of the relationship between local actin dynamics and global whole-cell behaviour.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).