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Dr Lucia Marucci

Quantitative understanding and control of cell complexity and decision-making

Cell decision-making is orchestrated by the complex interplay between intracellular dynamics and the extracellular environment. How do these components produce emergent phenotypes and affect cell decision-making? Can cell fate be directly engineered? Can mathematical models aid in the understanding the basis of living organism regulations and guide their re-engineering?

My multidisciplinary Systems and Synthetic Biology research group aims at answering these questions combining wet-lab experiments and computational research. The main aims are to:

i) get a quantitative understanding of the link between signalling pathway dynamics, cell-cycle and stem cell pluripotency. We combine tools from Systems and Synthetic Biology at population- and single-cell levels, and are currently setting-up a microscopy/microfluidics platform for real-time mammalian cells imaging and control;

ii) develop agent-based modelling tools for describing and predicting single-cell dynamics accounting for gene regulatory networks, cell morphology, cell growth and geometry of the environment;

iii) use in silico algorithms for rational minimal genome design, taking advantage of Whole-Cell models

Research keywords

  • Systems Biology
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Pluripotency
  • Non-linear dynamics
  • Microfluidics