Biomedical and Chemical Engineering Research Seminar

Speaker: Dr. Lishibanya Mohapatra, RIT Physics

Title: Design principles employed by cells to control the size of their organelles

Living cells contain a number of micron-scale structures whose physiological functions are related to their size. Examples include cytoskeletal structures like mitotic spindle and microvilli, and organelles like nucleolus. These structures are composed of molecular building blocks that diffuse in the cytoplasm and are characterized by a narrow size distribution. This prompts a question: How do these structures assemble and maintain their size amid constant turnover of their molecular components? Years of biochemical experiments have revealed a plethora of proteins involved with these structures, yet how they all work together to create properly-sized organelles is still not well understood. Using examples from various cell types, I will demonstrate how mathematical models and simulations can be used to uncover design principles employed by the cells to control the size of their organelles.

After receiving her B.S. and M.S. in Physics from India, Dr. Mohapatra received her PhD in Physics and Quantitative Biology from Brandeis University in Massachusetts. She then served as the Co-Director of Quantitative Biology Research Community (QBReC) - a HHMI-funded research program designed to introduce undergraduate students to research opportunities at the interface of the physical and life sciences. As an Assistant Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at RIT, she recently received funding from National Institute of Health to build a 5-year research program. Her research lab combines mathematical modeling with stochastic simulations, and collaborates with various experimental groups to quantitatively analyze mechanisms used by the cell to maintain competing structures growing in a shared pool of building blocks. Dr. Mohapatra is the Chair of RIT's Women in Science (WISe) program and a Faculty Research Mentor of the HHMI-funded Inclusive Excellence program at RIT. She enjoys working with students on a variety of research problems at the interface of Physics and Biology.

Faculty/Lab Website:

For more information, please contact the Faculty Lead, Dr. Tom Gaborski.

Vinay Abhyankar
Event Snapshot
When and Where
February 01, 2024
12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
Room/Location: 1140

Open to the Public

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