Computational Cell Biology - "Killer Application"
CFD Research Corporation
Biological Cells are spatially organized into membranes, organelles, and cytoskeleton.
Cellular physiological function is determined by myriad of biochemical reactions and
biophysical processes coordinated in time and space by cellular control mechanisms.
Historically cellular biology was mainly an empirical science and compact
mathematical modeling theories were rare. Recent progress in computational
biophysics and biochemistry as well as wealth of empirical bioinformatics
data opened new opportunities in cellular biology. We believe that computational
cell biology (CCB) will become next "killer application" in the scientific
CCB will have extraordinary impact in many areas but two most prominent are
in cellular biodetection, also called cellomics, and in drug discovery and
delivery. Living cells are ideal biosensors because they offer miniature
size, biological specificity, signal amplification, surface binding capability,
self-replication, multivariate detection, and other benefits. Modeling and
simulation of cell manipulation, control, sensing, and its biochemical and
biophysical interaction with surrounding environment within a biosensor will
be a critical enabling technology in cellomics. Computational modeling cell
interaction with chemical components such as metabolites, drugs, toxins,
viruses, and physical files e.g. light, magnetic and electric fields,
fluid shear, mechanical stimulation is still a major challenge and
potential opportunity. Over the years standard cell biology laboratory
experiments have been established such as patch clamp, fluorescence
recovery after photo bleaching, electropoartion, lysis, blotting, and
others. We believe that computational techniques, virtual experiments,
should be developed to complement experiments in data analysis, planning,
hypothesis assessment, add better understanding of basic science.
CCB will also play a major role in medical and pharmaceutical research.
Modeling physiological and pathological behavior of cells is beginning
to attract attention of multidisciplinary scientific teams. Recent
progress in modeling cell cycle, cell metabolism, cell binding and
signaling, and chemotaxis, even with great simplifications is greatly
encouraging. Better mathematical models, computational algorithms,
spatial temporal multiscale simulation methods are needed. Such models
have the potential to revolutionize disease detection and diagnosis as
well as medical therapies. Without the doubt CCB has the potential to
accelerate and ultimately win the battle against cancer. We also believe
that better integration of rapidly expanding metabolic engineering with
multidimensional cellular biophysics will revolutionize drug discovery,
delivery and bio production of novel more potent and safer pharmaceuticals.
Modeling cannot be done in isolation. There is a strong need for close
collaboration between mathematicians, physicist, computer scientists,
and biologics in partnership with experimental biologists, medical and
pharmacological scientists and practitioners. We hope the 2003 Nanotechnology
Conference and Trade Show will inspire novel ideas and enable new areas of
science engineering and medicine.