Mariajose Castellanos

Principal Lecturer
Undergraduate Program Director

Contact Information

Engineering, Room 319


Ph.D. Chemical Engineering – Cornell University, 2005
B.S. Chemical Engineering – Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), 1999

Research Areas

The rate of accumulation of biological information is increasing exponentially. This information is driven by new technologies and powerful data acquisition methods. These changes have revolutionized the nature of biology, allowing a greater intersection with engineering concepts and computation. Most of the new data is widely available, but the content is disconnected and primarily based on static and equilibrium measurements. In contrast, actual biological behavior is the product of integrative and dynamic interactions between system components. This behavior can be better understood with the development of structurally, biochemically, and physiologically detailed computational models based on experimental data. Models allow simulation of intracellular processes and the connection to the extracellular environment to predict system responses to variety of intrinsic perturbations (e.g. changes in cellular regulatory machinery) as well as environmental fluctuations (e.g. in nutrient levels). At the same time, models increase our understanding of the basic principles of systems functions and provide insight into the regulatory mechanisms controlling a biological system. Additionally, models can help in the design of future experiments and produce testable questions about the object of study. Our group will build models that allow sensible interrogation of the biological system, and design experiments to accompany the models to provide basic observations for model building and for validation of model predictions. The focus of the models are: Holistic pathogenesis and Molecular systems biology.

Selected Publications

S. Browning, M.Castellanos, M.L. Shuler, Robust control of initiation of prokaryotic chromosome replication: Essential considerations for a minimal cell, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 2004, Dec 5, 88, (5), 575-584.

M.Castellanos, D. Wilson, M.L.Shuler, A Modular Minimal Cell: Pyrimidine and Purine Transport and Metabolism, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2004, April 27; 101(17), 6681-6686.