Biophysical Modelling

BII - Biophysical Modelling Group Photo


The focus of the group is on using modeling and bioimaging to study biophysical problems arising in biology and medicine. For example, we have long been interested in cell migration. Cell migration is a critical process in every living organism: When wounds heal, skin cells migrate to close the wound. During cancer metastasis, cancer cells migrate and spread to a distant part of the body to initiate the formation of a new tumor. We develop novel assays to measure the biophysical properties of cell migration in three-dimensional microenvironments (see Fig. 1), and elucidate the signaling and gene regulatory networks that govern these properties, especially the role of the cytoskeleton. From these studies, we hope to identify novel therapeutic targets to perturb cell migration, which can eventually be translated into drugs to promote wound healing or stop cancer cell invasion.

BII_Research_CIID-BM-Figure1 Figure. 1. Mapping the forces exerted by a migrating neutrophil on the surrounding extracellular microenvironment.

Recently, we have also been interested in the dynamics of the cytoskeleton and nucleus in skeletal muscle cells. The generation of in vitro skeletal muscle has gained significant interest recently, especially in the context of the production of lab-grown meats. We seek to study the biophysical mechanisms of myotube formation, by developing computational models to simulate microtubule (MT) dynamics in nuclear centration and nuclear spreading, two essential nuclear positioning processes involved in myotube formation by myoblast fusion (see Fig. 2). We hope that understanding of such mechanisms will enable us to optimize myotube formation for lab-grown meat production. In addition to cell biological studies, we are also interested in biophysics in a clinical context. In particular, we are interested in developing novel technologies to alleviate pressure ulcers. Pressure ulcers develop in patients such as the bedridden, immobile or paralyzed, who lie on the bed for long periods of time and are unable to shift their body positions or move at all. The pressure exerted on the skin and the surrounding soft tissues over bony prominences (shoulders, sacrum, heels) can be so high that tissue ischaemia, hypoxia, inflammation and necrosis occur. We are interested in designing novel technologies to alleviate pressure ulcer formation.


Figure 2 : Snapshots of a simulation showing nuclei (black spheres) movement and microtubules (green filaments) during myotube formation.


 Senior Principal Investigator  CHIAM Keng Hwee   |    [View Bio]   
 Research Officer GOH Jie Hui Corinna
 Research Officer ZHOU Tianxun
 PhD Student JUN Myeongjun 

Selected Publications