Visible to the public CPS: Synergy: Collaborative Research: Learning from cells to create transportation infrastructure at the micron scaleConflict Detection Enabled

Project Details
Lead PI:Srinivasa Salapaka
Performance Period:09/15/15 - 08/31/19
Institution(s):University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sponsor(s):National Science Foundation
Award Number:1544635
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Abstract: Cells, to carry out many important functions, employ an elaborate transport network with bio-molecular components forming roadways as well as vehicles. The transport is achieved with remarkable robustness under a very uncertain environment. The main goal of this proposal is to understand how biology achieves such functionality and leveraging the knowledge toward realizing effective engineered transport mechanisms for micron sized cargo. The realization of a robust infrastructure that enables simultaneous transport of many micron and smaller sized particles will have a transformative impact on a vast range of areas such as medicine, drug development, electronics, and bio-materials. A key challenge here is to probe the mechanisms often at the nanometer scale as the bio-molecular components are at tens of nanometer scale. The main tools for addressing these challenges come from an engineering perspective that is guided by existing insights from biology. The proposal will bring together researchers from engineering and biology and it provides an integrated environment for students. Moreover, it is known that an impaired transport mechanism can underlie many neurodegenerative maladies, and as the research here pertains to studying intracellular transport, discoveries hold the potential for shedding light on what causes the impaired transport. Robust infrastructure that enables simultaneous transport of many micron and smaller sized particles will have a transformative impact on a vast range of areas such as medicine, drug development, electronics, and bio-materials. Daunting challenges from the underlying highly uncertain and complex environments impede enabling robust and efficient transport systems at micro-scale. Motivated by transport in biological cells, this work proposes a robust and efficient engineered infrastructure for transporting micron/molecular scale cargo using biological constructs. For probing and manipulating the transport network, the proposal envisions strategies for coarse and fine resolution objectives at the global and local scales respectively. At the fine scale of monitoring and control, scarce and expensive physical resources such as high resolution sensors have to be shared for interrogation/control of multiple carriers. In this proposal, the principles for joint control, sensor allocation and scheduling of resources to achieve enhanced performance objectives of a high resolution probing tool, will be developed. A modern control perspective forms an essential strategy for managing multiple objectives. At the global scale, entire traffic will be monitored to arrive at real-time and off-line inferences on traffic modalities. Associated principles for dynamically identifying and tracking clusters of carriers and their importance will be built. This categorization of physical elements and their importance will determine the dynamic allocation of computational resources. Associated study of trade-offs will guide a combined strategy for allocation of computational resources and gathering of information on physical elements. Methods based on the reconstruction of graph topologies for reaching inferences that are suited to dynamically related time trajectories for the transportation infrastructure will be developed. The research proposed is transformative as it will enable a new transport paradigm at the cellular scale, which will also provide unique insights into intracellular transport where it will be possible to investigate multiple factors under the same experimental conditions.