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Tracking cell boundaries over time

Trainee Achievements

Tracking cell boundaries over time

Through exposure to interdisciplinary coursework and a research rotation in biology with co-PI Jeff Kuhn, MultiSTEPS trainee Rod LaFoy, who has no notable background in biology, has made significant contributions to the quantitative analysis of cell motility. His new understanding of the biological processes involved in actin dynamics have combined with his expertise in image processing to result in a novel level-set method to track cell boundaries over time, to obtain protrusion and retraction velocities over the entire cell boundary, and to correlate membrane velocities to the underlying actin flow within the cytoplasm. This quantitative description of actin and membrane flow is a powerful diagnostic tool that promises to advance the state-of-the-art in analyzing cell motility.