JigCell Project Homepage

Welcome to the JigCell project. JigCell is a joint effort by members of the Departments of Biological Sciences and Computer Science at Virginia Tech. Our goal is to advance the state of the art for modeling in Systems Biology.

A major challenge of contemporary cell biology is to understand cell physiology from its underlying molecular regulatory networks. These networks are complex, containing many components interacting with one another through various positive and negative feedback loops. The dynamical consequences of these feedback loops are dauntingly complex, and it is not possible to understand them by intuitive arguments alone. Mathematical models are needed to describe the network precisely, to analyze their interactions rigorously and to provide accurate simulations that can be compared with experimental observations in quantitative details.

Because the cell cycle underlies the growth, development, and reproduction of all living organisms, knowledge about its control is central to cell biology and has potential applications in the health care and pharmaceutical industries. We want to develop novel, computational tools, with user-friendly interfaces, for studying complex biochemical regulatory systems in general, and the cell cycle control system in particular.

Our primary results are of two types. We create and distribute models of the cell cycle. And we create and distribute software that supports modelers of biochemical reaction pathways. Our tools currently include a model builder, run manager, comparator, and automatic parameter estimator. We hope to soon add a numerical bifurcation analysis package.

Our team provides a unique synergy between biologists and computer scientists. Our philosophy is that this synergy is an important driver for advancing the state-of-the-art in systems biology. By creating advanced software tools, computer scientists can help biologists to become more productive. By having the computer scientists work directly with practicing biology modelers, the biologists can guide the computer scientists to write software that is worthwhile.

Computational Cell Biology Figure