Digman Earns Moore Foundation Grant

Michelle DigmanSept. 11, 2017 - Michelle Digman, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, has been selected for a $56,250 Scialog Fellow grant from the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Digman is one of 51 Scialog Fellows -- outstanding early to mid-career researchers from U.S. academic institutions – who are part of an initiative to develop innovative ideas through research, dialog and collaboration.

For her research proposal, “Follow the Leader: Forecasting collective cancer dynamics,” Digman teamed with Steve Presse, associate professor in the School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University, and Bo Sun, a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology. The researchers are using non-invasive imaging techniques to characterize unique metabolic and rheological markers in aggressive tumor cells from engineered cancer organoids.  These organoids are clusters of cancer cells that mimic the architecture of tumors in the body and establish a population hierarchy of leader cells that invade the surrounding tissues.

The researchers combined expertise -- spectral imaging (Digman), modeling and data analysis (Presse), and tumor organoid engineering (Sun) -- will aid in investigating and modeling how the leader hierarchy in cancer cells is established.

“Our research is poised to provide fundamental insight into the game theory of collective cellular dynamics,” said Digman.

–  Lori Brandt