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Lan Ma
Assistant Professor-Department of Bioengineering
Office MailstopMail Box: EC39, ECSS, Room No.: 3.906 
Email Address    Primary Phone Number 9728834752    Media Contact
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Eakin, Laranda D
 Professional Preparation
 PhDElectrical & Computer EngineeringJohns Hopkins University2004
 MSEElectrical & Computer EngineeringJohns Hopkins University2001
 MSEControl EngineeringHuazhong University of Science & Technology1996
Collapse Section Expand Section Research and Expertise
Lan Ma

My research area is computational and systems biology. To elucidate the mechanism underlying biological processes, I use mathematical and computational approaches to model, simulate and analyze biological systems, specifically cellular sigaling transduction pathways. The biological systems I am working on are p53 and apoptosis pathway and circadian rhythm network. P53 is a critial tumor suppressor for human. We used mathematical model to reproduce experimental observation of p53 pulses in response to DNA damage and predict its behavior under different genetic perturbations. Our model predictions were validated by biochemical experiments of p53 responses in cancer cells as well as p53 gene transfected cells. These findings elucidated important mechanisms by which treatment such as radiation therapy can trigger programmed cell death of tumor. Circadian rhythm is a fundamental oscillatory biological process found in organisms ranging from insects, rodents, to humans. Using experimental assays, I have shown that the widely observed 24-hour circadian rhythm can be implemented by simple interactions of three key proteins. I have further developed quantitative models to characterize the dynamic interactions among components and identified key process for the rhythm.

My research interests include:

  • Elucidate mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms in a model system using an integrated mathematical and experimental approach
  • Mathematical modeling of protein-protein interaction in relationship to programmed cell death
  • Robustness analysis of circadian rhythm and other oscillatory biological systems
  • Applying control theory and dynamical systems theory to the studies of biological systems
Collapse Section Expand Section Publications
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  YearPublication  Type
H. Ooi and L. Ma. "Modeling heterogeneous responsiveness of intrinsic apoptosis pathway." BMC Systems Biology, 7:65. 2013.
H. Ooi and L. Ma. "Stochastic Analysis of Apoptosis Signaling Network." 28th Southern Biomedical Engineering Conference, Houston, TX. May 2012.
H. Ooi and L. Ma. "Modeling Cell-to-Cell Stochastic Variability in Intrinsic Apoptosis Pathway." Proceedings of 34th International Conference of the IEEE in Medicine and Biology Society, San Diego, CA. August 2012.
Conference paper
L. Ma and R. Ranganathan. "Quantifying the rhythm of KaiB-C complexation for in vitro cyanobacterial circadian clock." PLoS ONE 7(8): e42581, 2012.
H. Ooi and L. Ma. "Modeling apoptosis signaling network: ultrasensitivity versus bistability." Proceedings of 27th Southern Biomedical Engineering Conference, Arlington, TX: 1-3. April 2011. (Received 3rd Place presentation award). 
Collapse Section Expand Section Presentations and Projects
Start DateEnd DatePresentation/Project
04/08/2005 04/13/2005 L. Ma, J. Wagner, J. J. Rice and G. Stolovitzky. "Digital response of the p53 tumor suppressor protein to DNA damage: A tale of limiting resources, negative feedback and time delays." Keystone Symposium, Denver, CO.
03/19/2005 03/23/2005 L. Ma, J. Wagner, J. J. Rice and G. Stolovitzky. "Mathematical modeling of the digital response of the tumor suppressor p53 to DNA damage." 3rd International Symposium on Computational and Cell Biology, Lenox, MA.
01/17/2010 01/22/2010 L. Ma, R. Ranganathan. "Evaluating oscillatory protein complexation for cyanobacterial circadian clock." Gordon Research Conference on Biomolecular Interaction & Method, Galveston, TX.
Collapse Section Expand Section Affiliations
Parmacology Department, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Professor Rama Ranganathan,
Collapse Section Expand Section Appointments
DurationRankDepartment / SchoolCollege / OfficeUniversity / Company
2010-PresentAssistant ProfessorBioengineering University of Texas at Dallas
2006-2010Research Assistant ProfessorPharmocology University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
2003-2005Postdoctoral ResearcherComputational Biology Center T.J.Watson Research Center
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