Welcome to the home of network biology at Washington University in St. Louis

Our Mission: Model, predict and design functions of biological systems that result from integration of signals and responses of biomolecular and cellular networks.

CBSE productivity reaches new highs

In the first six months of 2016 labs associated with the Center for Biological Systems Engineering published 22 papers across a wide variety of journals in many different topics, from detailed technical reports to paradigm changing discoveries. The range of research performed and this exceptional productivity is testament to the environment and the quality of the researchers associated with the CBSE. Congratulations to all!

Raman lab develops cyborg super-sniffer locust

The Raman lab is pioneering the development of remote-control locusts in an effort to develop tools to rapidly and accurate search large areas for explosive material. By taking advantage of the locust's keen olfactory system, the lab is using electrodes connected directly to the insect's neural circuit to obtain a direct readout on the detected smells, which are then transmitted back to a central analysis unit via a low-power wireless transmission system. The work is being funded by the Office of Naval Research.

For more information see the press coverage from Popular Science and the BBC.

Naegle lab highlighted on Science homepage

A review paper by the Naegle lab was highlighted on the Science homepage as one of the top five most accessed articles across all Science journals. The review by first author Tom Ronan, a previous CBSE scholar, examines common pitfalls and challenges associated with the clustering of biological data, and provides a best-practices guide.

Read more about the work by clicking on the image below.

2016 - 2017 CBSE Scholars

The new CBSE scholarships for 2016-2017 have been announced! The CBSE scholarships reflect the academic excellence of doctoral students in the center. This year's recipients are listed below;

  • Tyler Harmon - Physics student in the Pappu Lab
  • Alex Holehouse (Kent and Bonnie Lattig Scholar) - Biophysics student in the Pappu Lab
  • Thomas Matthews (BME student in the Anastasio Lab)
  • Wandi Zhu (BME student in the Silva Lab)
  • Maxwell Zimmerman (Biophysics Student in the Bowman Lab)

For more information on the scholars' research, check out the scholars page on the CBSE website.

Congratulations to all!

Pappu lab uncovers secrets of nucleolar organization

Work by the Pappu lab in collaboration with Cliff Brangwynne at Princeton University has helped uncover how the nucleolus (the ribosome factory found inside Eukaryotic nuclei) can simultaneously display liquid-like properties while maintaining a well defined substructure.

Specific protein-protein interactions facilitate the multi-phase behaviour observed in the nucleolus, a phenomenon which Pappu lab graduate student Tyler Harmon was able to explain using coarse-grained simulations. Tyler's work suggests that multi-phase behavior might be an expected feature of complex multi-component systems, implying a general mechanism for subcellular organization.

The work was published in Cell in May. For more information see the Princeton University press release.

Swamidass lab receives NIH funding

Dr. Grover P. Miller Ph.D. and Dr. S. Joshua Swamidass M.D. Ph.D. are pleased to announce that their grant “Data and Tools for Modeling Metabolism and Reactivity” was funded by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) of the NIH after receiving an outstanding impact score of 21 (5th percentile) by the independent study section.

This grant will fund research in their collaboration over the next several years. Dr. Swamidass’ group will use mathematical models to understand how and when “reactive metabolites” are formed, and validate this models with prospective experiments in Dr. Miller’s group. Reactive metabolites are the root cause of some of the most difficult to predict adverse drug reactions.

For more information on the Swamidass Lab's work, see here.

Rohit Pappu inducted into the AIMBE

On April 4th 2016, Rohit Pappu was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) college of fellows. Dr. Pappu was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows for outstanding contributions to protein engineering and design and the molecular basis of neurodegeneration through advances in computational biology.

Raman lab in Nature Communications

Work by professor Barani Raman exploring how locust brains process neural stimuli has been published in Nature Communications. This work, spearheaded by co-first authors Debajit Saha and Chao Li (CBSE scholar), sets a paradigm for tracking neural responses and sheds light on how neurons process and filter complex information. The work has been made open access through generous support from the CBSE.

For more information, see the Washington University press release, or read the paper now online.

Spring 2016 CBSE seminar series:

Noon (12 PM)
Brauer Hall, Room 3015 ( upper level seminar room )

Feb 23rd: Amy Gladfelter, Dartmouth College

Mar 8th: Bruce Mayer, University of Connecticut

Mar 15th: Steven Smith, Stony Brook University

Mar 22nd: Greg Voth, University of Chicago

May 10th: Atul Butte, UCSF

Pak, CW., Kosno, M., Holehouse, AS., Padrick, SB., Mittal, A., Ali, R., Yunus, AA., Liu, DR., Pappu, RV., & Rosen, MK. (2016)

Sequence Determinants of Intracellular Phase Separation by Complex Coacervation of a Disordered Protein - Molecular Cell, 63: pp 72 - 75

Dang, LN., Hughes, TB., Krishnamurthy, V., & Swamidass, SJ. (2016)

A Simple Model Predicts UGT-Mediated Metabolism - Bioinformatics, btw350 (ePub ahead of print)

Ronan, T., Zhijie, Q., & Naegle, KM. (2016)

Avoiding Common Pitfalls When Clustering Biological Data - Science Signalling, 9: 432

Katta, N., Meier, DC., Benkstein, KD., Semancik, S. & Raman, B. (2016)

The I/O transform of a chemical sensor - Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 232: pp 357 - 368

Feric, M., Vaidya, N., Harmon, TS., Mitrea, DM., Zhu, L., Richardson, TM., Kriwacki, RW., Pappu, RV., Brangwynne, CP. (2016)

Coexisting Liquid Phases Underlie Nucleolar Subcompartments - Cell, 165: pp 1-12

Huang, C., Wang, K., Schoonover, RW., Wang, LV., Anastasio, MA. (2016)

Joint Reconstruction of Absorbed Optical Energy Density and Sound Speed Distributions in Photoacoustic Computed Tomography: A Numerical Investigation - IEEE Transactions on Computational Imaging 2, 2: pp 136 - 149

Lin, CC., Bradstreet, TR., Schwarzkopf, EA., Jarjour, NN., Chou, C., Archambault, AS., Sim, J., Zinselmeyer, BH., Carrero, JA., Wu, GF., Taneja, R., Artyomov, MN., Russell, JH. & Edelson, BT. (2016)

IL-1 Induced Bhlhe40 Identifies Pathogenic T Helper Cells in a Model of Autoimmune Neuroinflammation - Journal of Experimental Medicine, 213(2): pp 251 - 271

Ronan, T., Jennifer, LMO., Huelsmann, L., Bessman, NJ., Naegle, KM., Pike, LJ. (2016)

Different Ligands and Concentrations Cause Different Downstream Signaling Molecules to Be Recruited to the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor - Journal of Biological Chemistry, 291, pp 5528 - 5540

Ermilov, SA., Su R., Conjusteau A., Anis F., Nadvoretskiy V., Anastasio MA, Oraevsky, AA. (2016)

Three-Dimensional Optoacoustic and Laser-Induced Ultrasound Tomography System for Preclinical Research in Mice Design and Phantom Validation - Ultrasonic Imaging, 38: pp 77 - 95

Lam, HT., Graber, MC., Gentry, KA., Bieschke, J. (2016)

Stabilization of α-Synuclein Fibril Clusters Prevents Fragmentation and Reduces Seeding Activity and Toxicity - Biochemistry, 55, pp 675 - 685

Li, J., Zheng, S., Chen, B., Butte, AJ., Swamidass, SJ., Lu, Z. (2016)

A Survey of Current Trends in Computational Drug Repositioning - Briefings in Bioinformatics , 17(1), pp 2 - 12

Zhu, W., Varga, Z. & Silva, JR. (2016)

Molecular Motions that Shape the Cardiac Action Potential: Insights from Voltage Clamp Fluorometry. - Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, 120, pp 3 - 17