BME Seminar Series: Dr. Erik Taylor, Boston University
Biological architecture: the search for geometric patterns in normal and pathological tissues
Geometric patterns may be a hallmark of the tissue blueprint. While exploring diverse biological structures, reoccurring patterns emerge, including straight or crossing fibers, helical structures, and varying degrees of cellular co-alignment. In the brain, geometric patterns define complex neural connections. Disarray or the loss of geometric structure may be a biomarker of pathological tissue dysfunction.
We have developed an imaging technique capable of depicting 3D human organ structure at micro scales. The developed method, suitable for clinical utility or use in animal models, uses the principles of restricted proton diffusion to relate diffusion-weighted MRI signals with an orientation function via the Fourier transform.
The aim is to investigate biological architecture through geometric patterns. The talk will begin with validation of the method in the human tongue, a muscular hydrostat (Taylor et al., Biophysical Journal2015). Next, this talk will examine the utility of this method in an animal model of heart failure involving constitutive loss in the cardiac sarcomere of a structural protein, MyBPC3 (Taylor et al., Journal of the American Heart Association 2016). Finally, this talk will explore the hypothesis that the loss of geometric organization to tissue disarray serves as a biomarker of cancer severity (Taylor et al., Oncotarget 2017). In summary, recurrent features of biological architecture were characterized to gain better understanding of clinical ailments.