White Wins Medtronic Excellence in Modeling Award

Douglas White won the Medtronic Excellence in Modeling Award for his abstract entitled, “Quantifying Spatial Patterns of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation within Embryoid Bodies.”. He will be presented with the award at the annual Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) conference in Seattle in September 2013.

Douglas White did his undergraduate degree at the University of Washington, where he first became interested in stem cells while working with Chuck Murry. At Georgia Institute of Technology White currently works with associate professors, Melissa Kemp, Ph.D. and Todd McDevitt, Ph.D., to create computational models of stem cell fate and morphogenesis. He is currently funded by the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center, Emergent Behavior of Integrated Cellular Systems (EBICS), which seeks to investigate how scientists can take advantage of inherent cell behaviors to create complex machine through emergence.

In his early work, White created a computational model for describing morphogenesis and differentiation in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). Cells within this model are treated as individual autonomous agents and each cell makes decisions based on their environment. By varying the rules which govern cell behavior emergence of different cellular patterns and coordination can be observed. However, quantification of emergence and morphogenic events both experimentally and computationally remains a substantial problem.