Abstract by Lincoln Kartchner
Optimizing in silico models of collagen lattices
Optimizing models to more accurately represent in vivo observations is an important step in the process of computational modelling of biological phenomena. Collagen lattices form what is known as the extracellular matrix (ECM), or the network of fibrous proteins that provides structure to various tissues in the body. The properties of the collagen lattice are important in determining both the function of that specific tissue as well as how cells will behave in this extracellular environment. One important characteristic of collagen lattices that directly affects the mechanical characteristics of the ECM is the degree of connectivity between neighboring fibers. Our model consists of a lattice that is generated by randomly placing a specified number of nodes in specified region. These nodes are then connected to a specified number of nearest neighbors out of a larger set of possible neighbors. We hope to optimize our model of the collagen lattice to match what is seen in vivo in terms of lattice connectivity.