Mayesha Sahir Mim
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame
Collaborators: Dr. Jeremiah Zartman, University of Notre Dame
Title: Shining Light on Calcium-Mediated Morphogenesis : Forward Engineering Organ Development with Optogenetics
Short Abstract: Cells communicate to coordinate cellular processes across tissues, and Ca2+-ions are second messengers facilitating such multiscale coordination. However, current understanding of the biological mechanisms precludes direct control of Ca2+-mediated processes. Here, we have adopted a forward engineering approach to understand the role of Ca2+-signaling in morphogenesis using optogenetics. This is a novel method of regulating Ca2+-signaling in epithelial tissues. The output of Ca2+-signaling in terms of tissue morphogenesis can thus be controlled by adjusting width-half-max of optogenetic activation. Broader implications of this work include organism and organ-based drug screening assays and disease treatments connected to dysregulation of Ca2+-signaling dynamics.
Presenter Biosketch: Mayesha Sahir Mim is a third-year Ph.D. student at the Multicellular Systems Engineering Lab at the University of Notre Dame. She received her bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and had started a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as a Dean’s fellow before transferring to Notre Dame to pursue a more biologically inclined research path under the supervision of Dr. Jeremiah Zartman. Her current research involves the application of optogenetics in common fruit flies to find out whether the fate of tissue morphogenesis can be programmed by regulating Calcium dynamics. She utilizes her electrical engineering background to build circuits for the precise optical activation of such optogenetic tools in transgenic flies. She is also studying the Piezo channel for the regulation of Calcium dynamics and tissue morphogenesis. She is involved in collaborative computational projects with Dr. Mark Alber’s group at UC-Riverside to define the patterning of anisotropic curvature and cell height in growing tissues. Aside from research, Mayesha is also involved in various leadership roles in student clubs and organizations, and her hobbies include hiking and watching sports.
Link to Full Abstract: Mim_MayeshaSahir