Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program Round 2 – 2002

Jeffrey Axelrod, Pathology
Claire Tomlin, no longer at Stanford

In development of an organism, local signals mediate communication between neighboring cells.  From these signals, large scale patterns emerge that result in the form and function of a mature individual.  There has been a large gap between the molecular level understanding of these signals, and how the final form is achieved. 

We have developed and applied a powerful set of mathematical modeling tools and combined them with biological experimentation to examine an interesting example of this kind of problem, and the results yielded several important insights into the mechanisms that give rise to form and pattern, and will continue to be of tremendous utility in our future studies.  These methods are generalizable to other questions in developmental biology and the mathematical tools broadly applicable.