Stem Cell Fate Decision Making: Modeling Approaches

Alexander A. Spector, Warren L. Grayson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Mathematical (computational) modeling approaches can be effective tools in providing insight into cell-fate decisions. In this article, several major approaches to the modeling of embryonic, hematopoietic, adipose-derived, cancer, and neural stem cell differentiation are discussed. First, the population dynamics approach is considered. The models described as bifurcating dynamical systems that result in bistability or periodic oscillations are then discussed. Also, spatiotemporal models of cell differentiation, including continuum and discrete (agent- and rule-based) approaches, are reviewed. Further, the effects of the mechanical factors are discussed, including the convergence of the differentiation and mechanotransducton pathways and computational analysis of the extracellular matrix (surrounding tissue). Finally, the stochastic models that take into account the molecular noise of internal and external origins are reviewed. The effectiveness of the modeling in the creation of the improved differentiation platforms, elucidation of various pathological conditions, and analysis of treatment regiments has been demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2702-2711
Number of pages10
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 13 2017


  • cell differentiation
  • dynamical system
  • mechanobiology
  • stochastic methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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