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McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

BME Seminar: Ravi Radhakrishnan

Thursday, December 2, 2021 | 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Uncas A. Whitaker Hall, 218
6760 Forest Park Pkwy, St. Louis, MO 63105, USA

Presenting on "Can Soft Signals Turn Oncogenic? A soft-matter and multiscale modeling approach to engineering cancer cells and inform therapies"

Ravi Radhakrishnan, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Bioengineering; Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Founding Member and Former Director of Penn Institute for Computational Science, will speak at 10:00 CST on Thursday, December 2, 2021 in Whitaker 218.

The talk will focus on building predictive models in cell biology and bioengineering using equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, and collaboratively validating such models in in vitro physical science-based experiments, in vivo in cell culture, and in vivo in model organisms and human trials.

A theme, we discuss in relation to tumors of the soft tissues, the question “Can Soft Signals Turn Oncogenic?” There are emerging links between the stiffness of the tissue microenvironment and the tumorogenicity in several tumors of soft tissues, thereby bringing to light the importance of how cells transduce mechanical signals to alter signals and cell fate. We focus on molecular and subcellular mechanisms of curvature induction and sensing in cell membranes by a novel class of membrane remodeling proteins. We demonstrate how membrane morphologies such as protrusions can serve as signaling hubs to initiate and sustain survival as well as proliferative pathways in single cells that are initiated solely by physical stimulus and without any external biochemical cues.

We show that mechanism for cell-cell interactions and signaling communications can be potently mediated by extracellular vesicles (exosomes and macrovesicles) whose biogenesis is controlled by the mechanobiology of the cell and the extracellular microenvironment. Exosome-mediated intercellular signaling can potentiate immune response in cancer and also viral infections (such as SARS-COV2 infection) and we will describe our efforts to integrate our biophysics-based approach to next generation pharmacokinetic modeling approach towards developing predictive digital twins models for optimizing therapies in cancer and beyond.

These works are funded by US NIH, NSF, and EU ERC.

Host: Drs. Lori Setton and Rohit Pappu, Washington University in St. Louis

Parking is available outside of Whitaker Hall in the new East End Garage. Click here for the map. If taking the subway, the nearest metrolink stop is Skinker.

Event Type



McKelvey School of Engineering


Science & Technology, Medicine & Health

Biomedical Engineering


Event Contact

Mimi Hilburg | mhilburg@wustl.edu

Speaker Information

Radhakrishnan directs a computational research laboratory with research interests at the interface of biophysics, chemical physics, and biomedical engineering. His lab specializes in several computational algorithms spanning the molecular and cellular scales, in conjunction with the theoretical formalisms of statistical mechanics, and applications of high-performance scientific computing in parallel architectures. He is the Working Group Leader of the High-performance Computing working group of the Inter Agency Modeling Group, a think tank started by the NIH. He has successful and funded collaborations with pharmacologists, cell biologists, biophysical chemists, anesthesiologists, and oncologists primarily through grants from US National Science Foundation, US National Institutes of Health, and the European Research Council.

Honors and Awards: He has received the Hewlett Packard Investigator award and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine

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