O'Quinn's Page

Theoretical Modeling of Collagen Degradation by Matrix Metalloproteinases

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

This summer I was invited to Oak Ridge National Laboratory as an intern with the Research Alliance in Math and Science (RAMS) Program. I am working in the Computational Science and Engineering Division (CSED). I attend Wofford College, which is a National Liberal Arts College located in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I am a pre-medical biology major with an emphasis in computational science. My research involves the use of the software application JSim developed by the University of Washington. "JSim is a software environment for scientific modeling that provides tools for development of models, for their run-time control, and for analysis of their behavior." (National Simulation Resource) Mathematical modeling code within JSim is used to model the biochemical pathways and the reaction rates at which collagen is degraded by matrix metalloproteinases(MMPs), focusing on MMP-9 & MMP-2. In arterial aneurysm formation, the biochemical reactions of MMPs are known to play a vital role in the process of collagen, gelatin and elastin breakdown which lead to the ballooning of the artery and eventual rupture. This project also has important implications for other disease processes involving MMPs such as angiogenesis in tumor formation, atherosclerosis and some orthopedic diseases. This project is in collaboration with the Vascular Research Lab at University of Tennesse Medical Center.