Awarded in 2019
Home Department: Bioengineering
Faculty Advisors: Manu Prakash (Bioengineering) and Christopher Lowe (Biology)
Research Title: Cells to Organism: Morphogenesis, Repair and Size-Control as Emergent Properties of Cell-Scale Interactions in an Early Diverging Metazoan Trichoplax adhaerens
Research Description: Evolutionary transition of primitive clonally multicellular clusters into complex multicellular forms required establishment of developmental mechanisms guided by geometrical and environmental constraints. Pranav’s project aims to identify a system that allows us to peek into the past and understand the evolution of developmental mechanisms in the first metazoans. In particular, he will be establishing T. adharens as a model system for studying collective cell behavior at an organismal scale, by combining multidimensional microscopy, microfluidics and theoretical condensed active matter physics with classical embryological and molecular biology techniques. This work will benefit the development of fundamental approaches towards understanding morphogenesis, as well as understanding regeneration and wound repair.