RESEARCH

- Tissue packing organization

We are investigating the fundamental physical principles of cell packing and tissue organization, the basis for the correct formation of organs. we use Voronoi tessellations as a geometrical tool to understand the physical constraints that drive the organization of biological tissues. We describe a “Centroidal Voronoi path” formed by successive relaxations of a random Voronoi diagram, and show that the “Centroidal Voronoi path” became predictive of the polygon distribution of the natural packed tissues. 

In a collaboration with the group of Dr. Yanlan Mao from UCL (London, UK), we have found that packed tissues are constrained by a physical constraint that drives its self-organization. 

Now, in collaboration with Dr. Alberto Márquez and Dr. Clara Grima from the Seville University we are combining Computational Geometry concepts with image analysis to study three-dimensional structures such epithelial glands.



- Network Analysis of tissue organization.
Our aim is to obtain new insights from any epithelial images using System Biology Methods. We are developing new methods to characterize small organizational differences between different developmental time points. This will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms that drive morphogenesis. We also analyse how local changes can propagate into large rearrangements in epithelial organization.



- NDICIA a method for the evaluation of muscle biopsies


We consider biological images as complex systems of elements (i. e. Cells, nuclei, foci…). Network Science studies the relations between the objects that form complex systems. Therefore we combine Computerized Image Analysis and Network Science to investigate different biological and biomedical questions. Extracting the defining signature of complex images we obtain objective and quantitative information that help to interpret biological processes in development and disease.The diagnosis of neuromuscular diseases is strongly based on the histological characterization of muscle biopsies. However, this morphological analysis is mostly a subjective process and difficult to quantify. In collaboration with engineers from the University of Seville (Dr. Serrano and Dr. Acha group) we have developed NDICIA, a  new method that extract useful information from muscle samples in an objective, automated, fast and precise manner. NDICIA quantification of the severity of muscular dystrophies strongly correlates with the evaluation of the degree of affectation carried out by the pathologist, confirming the method as an useful diagnostic tool. Now we are improving NDICIA to adapt it to other neuromuscular diseases and to mice and dog biopsies. 


Other ongoing collaborations:
- Topological approach for the analysis of neuroblastoma biopsies. 
In collaboration with the lab of Dr. Rosa Noguera from INCLIVA (Valencia, Spain).

- Network methods for DNA Damage evaluation.
 In collaboration with Dr Cortés-Ledesma group (CABIMER, Seville).