Ashlee N. Ford Versypt

PhD

Ashlee Ford Versypt.

Ashlee N. Ford Versypt

PhD

Ashlee N. Ford Versypt

PhD

Research Topics

computational science and engineering; applied mathematics; mathematical biology; multiscale modeling; physiology; pharmacology; toxicology; kidney; bone; cancer; lung; pharmacokinetics; immunotherapy; drug delivery; tissue damage; porous materials; extracellular matrix; kinetics; transport; numerical methods

Biography Publications Teaching Research Media

Research interests

Dr. Ford Versypt leads the Systems Biomedicine and Pharmaceutics Laboratory. The long-term goal for her research program is to develop multiscale mathematical and computational models to enhance understanding of the mechanisms governing tissue remodeling and damage as a result of diseases and infections and to simulate the treatment of those conditions to improve human health. The Systems Biomedicine and Pharmaceutics Laboratory specializes in modeling kinetics and transport processes involved in biological and chemical interactions related to both physiological microenvironments and engineered biomedical and pharmaceutical systems, particularly those involved in tissue damage and treatment. Her research program is funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Most of the projects in the lab involve building continuous PDE or ODE-based mathematical models and/or discrete agent-based computational models a) for transport of biochemicals through heterogeneous porous materials—primarily extracellular matrices—that change morphology dynamically due to the influence of chemical reactions and b) for dynamic, complex biological systems involving chemical, physical, and biological interactions of diverse, heterogeneous cell populations with these materials and the chemical species in tissue microenvironments. 

Projects

  • 9/15/20
    The 2019 novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, is a pathogen of critical significance to international public health. Knowledge of the interplay between molecular-scale virus-receptor interactions, single-cell viral replication, intracellular-scale viral transport, and emergent tissue-scale viral propagation is limited. Moreover, little is known about immune system-virus-tissue interactions and how these can result in low-level (asymptomatic) infections in some cases and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and other tissue damage in others, particularly with respect to presentation in different age groups or pre-existing inflammatory risk factors like diabetes.
  • 9/15/20
    The prognosis is grim for patients who have metastasis, where cancer cells spread from a localized tumor to other regions in the body. Cancer cells and the surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) interact to facilitate migration of cancer cells during early metastasis. Cancer cells secrete particular enzymes to cut and align collagen fibers of the ECM. These ECM remodeling activities transform the ECM from a random fiber matrix into an oriented "fibrous highway" that enhances cancer cell migration. The Ford Versypt lab addresses remodeling of the ECM during metastasis and the impacts on cellular migration through dynamic heterogeneous ECM biomaterials. Hybrid partial differential equation and agent-based modeling approaches are used to predict the interactions in tumor microenvironments.
  • 9/15/20
    The interplay between gut microbiota and the immune system has a pivotal role in the maintenance of bone health. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as butyrate produced by gut microbiota have emerged as key regulatory participants in shaping the immune system. Butyrate has been observed to have local and systemic effects including inducing the differentiation of peripheral regulatory T cells (Tregs) in the intestine, blood, and bone marrow. Tregs are the central actors of the negative feedback component of the immune system. The interaction between Tregs and cytotoxic CD8+ T cells suppress the inflammatory status and promote the production of Wnt10b to increase bone formation. However, the therapeutic benefit of butyrate in bone anabolism remains poorly understood. The Ford Versypt Lab is collaborating with Dr. Brenda Smith of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Oklahoma State University to build a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model connecting butyrate in the gut to bone formation via the immune system.
  • 9/15/20
    Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is a serious complication of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and is the leading cause of kidney failure. Yet, it is still not clear how the many underlying chemical, physical, and biological processes interact to damage the kidneys during diabetes. It is challenging to monitor the damage to the kidneys inside a patient. The regions of the kidney that are damaged are very small and are deep within the body. It takes a long time for irreversible damage to accumulate to the point where non-invasive urine samples contain detectable quantities of proteins that leaked through the kidneys.