Igor L. Novak

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The Virtual Cell (VCell) is a general computational framework for modeling physicochemical and electrophysiological processes in living cells. Developed by the National Resource for Cell Analysis and Modeling at the University of Connecticut Health Center, it provides automated tools for simulating a wide range of cellular phenomena in space and time, both(More)
The availability of quantitative experimental data on the kinetics of actin assembly has enabled the construction of many mathematical models focused on explaining specific behaviors of this complex system. However these ad hoc models are generally not reusable or accessible by the large community of actin biologists. In this work, we present a(More)
In living cells, the cytoskeleton connects to the extracellular environment through focal adhesions, multimolecular structures that can sense applied force. A model is presented that for the first time explains why the focal adhesions tend to high-curvature regions at the cell periphery. It is based on experimental evidence for positive feedback between(More)
An algorithm is presented for solving a diffusion equation on a curved surface coupled to diffusion in the volume, a problem often arising in cell biology. It applies to pixilated surfaces obtained from experimental images and performs at low computational cost. In the method, the Laplace-Beltrami operator is approximated locally by the Laplacian on the(More)
Cell migration is based on an actin treadmill, which in turn depends on recycling of G-actin across the cell, from the rear where F-actin disassembles, to the front, where F-actin polymerizes. To analyze the rates of the actin transport, we used the Virtual Cell software to solve the diffusion-drift-reaction equations for the G-actin concentration in a(More)
The intricate geometry of cytoskeletal networks and internal membranes causes the space available for diffusion in cytoplasm to be convoluted, thereby affecting macromolecule diffusivity. We present a first systematic computational study of this effect by approximating intracellular structures as mixtures of random overlapping obstacles of various shapes.(More)
Bundling of rapidly polymerizing actin filaments underlies the dynamics of filopodial protrusions that play an important role in cell migration and cell-cell interaction. Recently, the formation of actin bundles has been reconstituted in vitro, and two scenarios of bundle initiation, involving binding of two filament tips and, alternatively, linking of the(More)
Hybrid deterministic-stochastic methods provide an efficient alternative to a fully stochastic treatment of models which include components with disparate levels of stochasticity. However, general-purpose hybrid solvers for spatially resolved simulations of reaction-diffusion systems are not widely available. Here we describe fundamentals of a(More)
Efficient and accurate numerical techniques are used to examine similarities of effective diffusion in a void between random overlapping obstacles: essential invariance of effective diffusion coefficients (D(eff)) with respect to obstacle shapes and applicability of a two-parameter power law over nearly entire range of excluded volume fractions (φ), except(More)
Dendritic filopodia are actin-filled dynamic subcellular structures that sprout on neuronal dendrites during neurogenesis. The exploratory motion of the filopodia is crucial for synaptogenesis, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. To study filopodial motility, we collected and analyzed image data on filopodia in cultured rat hippocampal(More)