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This is a simulation-driven science project to understand the inner workings of cellular structures and biological systems, and to design detection and manipulation devices for a wide range of applications in nano-medicine and nano-biotechnology. Our specific plan focuses on two important and synergistic aspects of molecular and cell mechanics: a) analysis tools for nano-bio imaging and b) design tools for mechano-sensing devices. The two topics are closely coupled, because the imaging and analysis of biological components is necessary for the effective design of devices interacting with them at the nanoscale. The selection of these topics is not only justified by the collective expertise of the team assembled here, but also by the unique suitability of the nanoHUB infrastructure to be utilized as the platform of choice, both for the broad availability of practical simulation tools and for the centralized archiving of imaging data. Data generation in the general field of biology is experiencing an exponential growth which is making a compelling argument for advancing bio-curation, the activity of organizing, representing, and making biological information accessible (Nature, vol. 455, 9/4/2008, p. 47). We believe that the confluence of disciplinary expertise and excellent information technology provides the strong potential for transformative developments in nano-biotechnology to accelerate biological discovery and biomedical research. We envision the nanoHUB as an ideal environment to merge data curation with simulation and data generation in the cell mechanics field. Therefore, simulation and imaging analysis tools will attract groups to perform research tasks on the nanoHUB, but a data repository of raw and processed biological images will be also appealing to the broader community.
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