Grant: $400,000 - National Science Foundation - Jul. 22, 2009
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Award Description: Intellectual Merit: One goal of tissue engineering is to direct the differentiation, integration, and organization of living cells to produce biological substitutes for organs to meet the need of nearly 100,000 Americans who are waiting for organ transplants. Current efforts in tissue engineering are largely driven by experiments with very little guidance from control theory. This project develops and experimentally evaluates a control theory-based approach that will facilitate the design of protocols to predictably promote the differentiation of human promyelocytic leukemia (HL60) cells into monocytes and granulocytes. Model predictive controllers will be designed using sparse grid-based optimization methods to select practical values that are robust to model uncertainties and experimental disturbances. This potentially transformative research will be among the very first studies specifically designed to develop and experimentally validate control theory-based strategies to control cellular differentiation. Broader Impact: Efforts will be made to educate and inspire tomorrows engineers to pursue careers that utilize control principles and practices to design experimental strategies to manipulate cellular processes. It is estimated that more than 500 graduate, undergraduate, and middle school students will benefit from the proposed educational activities. Mastery-oriented teaching and small group mentoring sessions are anticipated to promote student attainment of a positive self-image, sustained motivation, and life-long learning skills while the Web-modules, electronic fieldtrips, and summer camp activities will highlight the beneficial contributions of control engineers to society. This integrated research and education career plan will have implications for the control theory, systems biology, tissue engineering, and engineering education communities.
Project Description: A full-time graduate student has been hired (Sarah Noble) and we are looking for the part-time graduate student to work on the project. We have started simulated experiments of adaptive model predictive control (MPC) with varying degrees of model-plant mismatch and simulated experimental noise. In these simulated experiments, the plant represents the population of differentiating cells. The plant parameters have been perturbed from their nominal values to represent the unique conditions for each experiment as the cellular dynamics will change due to the heterogeneity inherent to different cell populations. These simulated experiments give us a controlled environment in which to gauge the ability of the approach to simultaneously identify the true experimental parameters while controlling the differentiation of the cells. Success in this work will lay the foundation for future laboratory experiments. An undergraduate controls course entitled 'Control for Biomedical and Healthcare Applications' has been developed and is being offered. There are currently 9 students in the class.
Infrastructure Description: n/a
Jobs Summary: This grant allowed for the creation/retention of the following positions: Graduate Research Assistant (132.06 Hours) & Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering (17.33 Hours). (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jul. 22, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.