BME7900 Seminar - Shayn Peirce-Cottler, PhD




We welcome Dr. Shayn Peirce-Cottler, from the University of Virginia, as our next speaker for our seminar program. She is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Agent-based Modeling of Multi-Cellular Systems Abstract: The most prevalent, devastating, and complex diseases of our time, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infectious diseases, involve the interactions of heterogeneous cells with one another and with their changing environment. However, the drugs we typically use to treat these diseases target a single protein (e.g. anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) for treating diabetic retinopathy) and disregard the fact that cells within tissues are highly heterogeneous and have individualized responses that contribute to the tissue-level outcomes. To bridge the gap between protein and multi-cell/tissue-levels, my lab develops agent-based computational models and uses them in combination with experimental approaches, to predict how individual cell behaviors give rise to tissue-level adaptations. We have used agent-based modeling to simulate the structural adaptations of large and small blood vessels, skeletal muscle regeneration following injury, and immune cell trafficking and differentiation during inflammation and infection. Our studies have suggested new mechanistic hypotheses and provided guidance for the design of novel therapies that account for the dynamic and heterogeneous interactions between different cell types within a diseased tissue. Bio: Shayn Peirce-Cottler, Ph.D. is Professor of Biomedical Engineering with secondary appointments in the Department of Ophthalmology and Department of Plastic Surgery at the University of Virginia. Dr. Peirce-Cottler received Bachelor’s of Science degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics from The Johns Hopkins University in 1997. She earned her Ph.D. in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia in 2002. Dr. Peirce-Cottler develops and uses computational models in conjunction with experiments to study structural and functional adaptations of tissues, in both health and disease, in order to develop new therapies for inducing regeneration in injured tissues or restoring homeostasis to diseased tissues. Her lab’s core expertise is in combining agent-based computational modeling with in vivo imaging of murine experimental models to examine and control the multi-cell interactions involved in angiogenesis. Current projects in her lab seek to exploit perivascular support cells, immune cells, and stem cells to invoke tissue regeneration and curb fibrosis during acute and chronic inflammation. Dr. Peirce-Cottler has published over 100 peer reviewed papers and book chapters, and she is the inventor on two issued U.S. Patents. She is a fellow in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows and Past-President of The Microcirculatory Society. At UVA she teaches courses on computational modeling and cell and molecular physiology, and she is the Director of the Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering.