By Peter Murphy
Published February 18, 2022
Ashlee N. Ford Versypt, associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, was named a 2021 Influential Researcher, according to Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, an American Chemical Society publication.
She was recognized for a recent paper she co-authored entitled, Mathematical Modeling of the Gut-Bone Axis and Implications of Butyrate Treatment on Osteoimmunology.
“We are studying the effects of certain nutritional supplements on bone health via interaction with the digestive and immune systems,” Ford Versypt says. “As chemical engineers, we take a computational systems biology approach to tie together complex biological processes.”
The 2021 Class of Influential Researchers are “in the first 10 years or so of their independent careers, and were identified through an open call for nominations, with a focus on researchers in the Americas,” according to the journal’s website. Nominations were reviewed by the journal’s editors and advisory board members.
“The distinction is important for widening the audience of our paper, the first from a systems biology and experimental collaboration with nutrition, inflammation and bone health expert, Brenda Smith of the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health and Oklahoma State University,” Ford Versypt says. “The paper leads to multiple candidate hypotheses to explain biological processes consistent with prior experimental data and can help to further explain how the nutritional supplements impact bone health.”
The long-term goal of Ford Versypt’s research program is to develop multiscale mathematical and computational models to enhance understanding of the mechanisms governing tissue remodeling and damage from diseases and infections, and to stimulate the treatment of those conditions to improve human health. Her research program is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health.
Ford Versypt also leads the Systems Biomedicine and Pharmaceutics Laboratory at UB. The lab 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.
Ford Versypt has authored or co-authored 29 peer-reviewed journal publications and earned the NSF CAREER Award in 2019. In 2017, Ford Versypt was recognized by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) as one of the institute’s “35 under 35.” She is also a director of AIChE’s computing and systems technology division and past chair of the chemical engineering division of the American Society for Engineering Education.
Industrial & Engineering Chemistry is a weekly publication reporting industrial and academic research in the chemistry and chemical and biomolecular/biochemical engineering. The journal has been published by the American Chemical Society since 1909.