DPhil, MSc, BSc
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Mathematical modelling of cortex evolution
I am a post-doctoral research associate with the St John's college Research Centre.
Building on my background in mathematics I have been developing a wide range of theoretical and computational tools that allow us to better understand a variety of biological systems.
My DPhil research project, in collaboration with the Integrated Mathematical Oncology department at the Moffitt Cancer Centre focussed on the role of tumour-stroma interactions in the emergence of environment-mediated drug resistance. I used population dynamics and spatially resolved models as a hypothesis-testing platform to facilitate communication with experimentalists, and to suggest further experimental routes.
I am part of an interdisciplinary effort between the Molnar group at DPAG and Prof. Maini and Dr. Woolley at the Wolfson Centre for Mathematical Biology supported by St John's College Research Centre to study cortex development and evolution. We want to understand the finely-tuned processes that take place during neurogenesis, and to map the divergent evolutionary trajectories that give rise to differences between species.
I am keen on contributing to the advancement of our understanding of the complexity of the human body and using mathematical and computational approaches to make functional predictions of biological processes. I enjoy working in close contact with experimentalists and I look forward to learn more about development and evolution.
Individual Cell-Based Model
Time to change your mind? Modelling transient properties of cortex formation highlights the importance of evolving cell division strategies.
Picco N. and Woolley TE., (2018), J Theor Biol
Mathematical Modeling of Cortical Neurogenesis Reveals that the Founder Population does not Necessarily Scale with Neurogenic Output.
Picco N. et al, (2018), Cereb Cortex, 28, 2540 - 2550
Integrating Models to Quantify Environment-Mediated Drug Resistance.
Picco N. et al, (2017), Cancer Res, 77, 5409 - 5418
Stem Cell Plasticity and Niche Dynamics in Cancer Progression.
Picco N. et al, (2017), IEEE Trans Biomed Eng, 64, 528 - 537
Models of Neurogenesis in Development
This is a graphic user interface allowing to select and calibrate the neurogenesis model, observing how the temporal dynamics vary when changing parameter values.
The user can select and compare strategies of neocortical development across different species.
In the long term we envisage the use of our neurogenesis model to map multiple species trajectories on the strategy space to highlight the paths of evolution.
More information on the neurogenesis model, notation, and terminology used in the app, can be found on the BiorXiv.