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Padmini Rangamani

Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, UCSD

Professor Rangamani's research is focused on understanding the design principles of biological systems.
Her long-term research goal is  to understand the  control of  cell shape  by  analyzing biological membranes and their interaction with proteins and the cytoskeleton using principles from transport phenomena. This is a unifying framework that brings together, mechanics of the membrane, membrane-bound proteins, and their coupled interactions. Her work uses a combination of novel mechanical theories and computational  approaches to simulate  many aspects of cellular membranes, in collaboration with experimentalists.  Areas of current focus are:

  • Transport phenomena in biological membranes: How do lipid flow, lipid diffusion and protein diffusion interact with bulk cytoplasmic fluid and proteins in solution to regulate cell shape?
  • Influence of cell shape on biochemical activation of signaling networks: How does a given cell shape affect the activation of signaling networks and transcription factor activation?
  • Morphological and topological changes to lipid membranes mediated by proteins and cytoskeletal forces: How do membrane proteins and cytoskeletal elements interact with the plasma membrane to generate morphological changes (e.g. endocytosis) or topological changes (e.g. vesicle fusion)?

Capsule Bio:

Rangamani was a Chancellor’s postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biolgoy and in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley in 2013-14. She earned her Ph.D. in biological sciences in 2010 at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.