Tissue Ecology and collective multicellular computation
Ecology is an interdisciplinary field that studies how living organisms interact with each other and their ever-changing surrounding environment, as well as how such interactions drive decisions, behavioral outcomes, and evolution at both organismal and environmental levels. Many ecological principles are shared by different complex systems as they influence system level equilibrium, homeostatic state, and existence.
Competition between cells control the outcome of tissue repair in liver (regeneration vs fibrosis).
Gut produced serotonin modulate the competitive cell interaction in liver.
Organisms co-develop, collaborate, generate heterogeneity. These processes ensure success for the collective success and survival that is transferred at multiple scales. We use these principles to engineer bottom-up novel multicellular systems that can perform meaningful tasks with immense biomedical impacts .
Image analysis to study cellular neighborhoods
Some years ago we have also studied how cellular competition in liver lobules can control the balance between healthy tissue regeneration and fibrosis(unhealthy wound healing). We observed gut-produced serotonin control the landscape of cellular competition in the liver (Nat Med 2011).
We are using multicellular systems to better understand tissue ecology. More specifically we study how tissue neighborhoods compute the collective information to shape the identity and destiny of individual player and how we can perturb the system and control this outcome.
(For more information also refer to our research on systems biology of multicellular systems)
1. Neighborhood Impact Factor to Study Cell-Fate Decision-Making in Cellular Communities. Methods Mol Biol. 2021; 2258:17-28.
2. Stimulating healthy tissue regeneration by targeting the 5-HT₂B receptor in chronic liver disease. Nat Med. 2011 Nov 27; 17(12):1668-73.
3. Genetically engineering self-organization of human pluripotent stem cells into a liver bud-like tissue using Gata6. Nat Commun. 2016 Jan 6;7:10243.
Level of GATA6 controls fate and fitness in liver organoids which is also affected by the cellular states within the neighborhood.