Project Overview

Vertebrate Segmentation: From Gene Networks to Human Diseases

Faculty Sponsor

Ahmet Ay (


Computer Science


The precursors of spatially repetitive vertebrae segments are periodically generated by a biological regulatory network (a set of genes or proteins that interact with each other to control a specific cell function.) This yet-to-be discovered biological network controls the vertebrate segmentation during embryonic development. In this project, we will identify this network through mathematical modeling and machine learning. I expect the outcome of this study to lead to significant advances in our understanding of the dynamics of the vertebrate segmentation and related human diseases such as scoliosis. This knowledge will also shed light onto other biological networks such as human circadian clock.

Student Qualifications

Student qualifications:
Programming skills from MATH 260 (Computational Mathematics), MATH 376 (Numerical Analysis) or COSC 102 (Introduction to Computing II).
Having taken COSC 301 (Operating Systems) is preferred.

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

10 weeks

Applications open on 01/03/2020 and close on 03/11/2020

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (