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  1. Abstract

    In this work, we applied a multi‐information source modeling technique to solve a multi‐objective Bayesian optimization problem involving the simultaneous minimization of cost and maximization of growth for serum‐free C2C12 cells using a hyper‐volume improvement acquisition function. In sequential batches of custom media experiments designed using our Bayesian criteria, collected using multiple assays targeting different cellular growth dynamics, the algorithm learned to identify the trade‐off relationship between long‐term growth and cost. We were able to identify several media with more growth of C2C12 cells than the control, as well as a medium with 23% more growth at only 62.5% of the cost of the control. These algorithmically generated media also maintained growth far past the study period, indicating the modeling approach approximates the cell growth well from an extremely limited data set.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  2. Abstract Systemic inequity in biometrics systems based on racial and gender disparities has received a lot of attention recently. These disparities have been explored in existing biometrics systems such as facial biometrics (identifying individuals based on facial attributes). However, such ethical issues remain largely unexplored in voice biometric systems that are very popular and extensively used globally. Using a corpus of non-speech voice records featuring a diverse group of 300 speakers by race (75 each from White, Black, Asian, and Latinx subgroups) and gender (150 each from female and male subgroups), we explore and reveal that racial subgroup has a similar voice characteristic and gender subgroup has a significant different voice characteristic. Moreover, non-negligible racial and gender disparities exist in speaker identification accuracy by analyzing the performance of one commercial product and five research products. The average accuracy for Latinxs can be 12% lower than Whites (p < 0.05, 95% CI 1.58%, 14.15%) and can be significantly higher for female speakers than males (3.67% higher, p < 0.05, 95% CI 1.23%, 11.57%). We further discover that racial disparities primarily result from the neural network-based feature extraction within the voice biometric product and gender disparities primarily due to both voice inherent characteristic difference and neural network-based feature extraction. Finally, we point out strategies (e.g., feature extraction optimization) to incorporate fairness and inclusive consideration in biometrics technology. 
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  3. Abstract The formation and recovery of gaps in the vascular endothelium governs a wide range of physiological and pathological phenomena, from angiogenesis to tumor cell extravasation. However, the interplay between the mechanical and signaling processes that drive dynamic behavior in vascular endothelial cells is not well understood. In this study, we propose a chemo-mechanical model to investigate the regulation of endothelial junctions as dependent on the feedback between actomyosin contractility, VE-cadherin bond turnover, and actin polymerization, which mediate the forces exerted on the cell-cell interface. Simulations reveal that active cell tension can stabilize cadherin bonds, but excessive RhoA signaling can drive bond dissociation and junction failure. While actin polymerization aids gap closure, high levels of Rac1 can induce junction weakening. Combining the modeling framework with experiments, our model predicts the influence of pharmacological treatments on the junction state and identifies that a critical balance between RhoA and Rac1 expression is required to maintain junction stability. Our proposed framework can help guide the development of therapeutics that target the Rho family of GTPases and downstream active mechanical processes. 
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  4. As the drone becomes widespread in numerous crucial applications with many powerful functionalities (e.g., reconnaissance and mechanical trigger), there are increasing cases related to misused drones for unethical even criminal activities. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to identify these malicious drones and track their origins using digital forensics. Traditional drone identification techniques for forensics (e.g., RF communication, ID landmarks using a camera, etc.) require high compliance of drones. However, malicious drones will not cooperate or even spoof these identification techniques. Therefore, we present an exploration for a reliable and passive identification approach based on unique hardware traits in drones directly (e.g., analogous to the fingerprint and iris in humans) for forensics purposes. Specifically, we investigate and model the behavior of the parasitic electronic elements under RF interrogation, a particular passive parasitic response modulated by an electronic system on drones, which is distinctive and unlikely to counterfeit. Based on this theory, we design and implement DroneTrace, an end-to-end reliable and passive identification system toward digital drone forensics. DroneTrace comprises a cost-effective millimeter-wave (mmWave) probe, a software framework to extract and process parasitic responses, and a customized deep neural network (DNN)-based algorithm to analyze and identify drones. We evaluate the performance of DroneTrace with 36 commodity drones. Results show that DroneTrace can identify drones with the accuracy of over 99% and an equal error rate (EER) of 0.009, under a 0.1-second sensing time budget. Moreover, we test the reliability, robustness, and performance variation under a set of real-world circumstances, where DroneTrace maintains accuracy of over 98%. DroneTrace is resilient to various attacks and maintains functionality. At its best, DroneTrace has the capacity to identify individual drones at the scale of 104 with less than 5% error. 
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  5. Cells can sense and respond to mechanical forces in fibrous extracellular matrices (ECMs) over distances much greater than their size. This phenomenon, termed long-range force transmission, is enabled by the realignment (buckling) of collagen fibers along directions where the forces are tensile (compressive). However, whether other key structural components of the ECM, in particular glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), can affect the efficiency of cellular force transmission remains unclear. Here we developed a theoretical model of force transmission in collagen networks with interpenetrating GAGs, capturing the competition between tension-driven collagen fiber alignment and the swelling pressure induced by GAGs. Using this model, we show that the swelling pressure provided by GAGs increases the stiffness of the collagen network by stretching the fibers in an isotropic manner. We found that the GAG-induced swelling pressure can help collagen fibers resist buckling as the cells exert contractile forces. This mechanism impedes the alignment of collagen fibers and decreases long-range cellular mechanical communication. We experimentally validated the theoretical predictions by comparing the intensity of collagen fiber alignment between cellular spheroids cultured on collagen gels versus collagen–GAG cogels. We found significantly lower intensities of aligned collagen in collagen–GAG cogels, consistent with the prediction that GAGs can prevent collagen fiber alignment. The role of GAGs in modulating force transmission uncovered in this work can be extended to understand pathological processes such as the formation of fibrotic scars and cancer metastasis, where cells communicate in the presence of abnormally high concentrations of GAGs. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
  7. Using wireless signals to monitor human vital signs, especially heartbeat information, has been intensively studied in the past decade. This non-contact sensing modality can drive various applications from cardiac health, sleep, and emotion management. Under the circumstance of the COVID-19 pandemic, non-contact heart monitoring receives increasingly market demands. However, existing wireless heart monitoring schemes can only detect limited heart activities, such as heart rate, fiducial points, and Seismocardiography (SCG)-like information. In this paper, we present CardiacWave to enable a non-contact high-definition heart monitoring. CardiacWave can provide a full spectrum of Electrocardiogram (ECG)-like heart activities, including the details of P-wave, T-wave, and QRS complex. Specifically, CardiacWave is built upon the Cardiac-mmWave scattering effect (CaSE), which is a variable frequency response of the cardiac electromagnetic field under the mmWave interrogation. The CardiacWave design consists of a noise-resistant sensing scheme to interrogate CaSE and a cardiac activity profiling module for extracting cardiac electrical activities from the interrogation response. Our experiments show that the CardiacWave-induced ECG measures have a high positive correlation with the heart activity ground truth (i.e., measurements from a medical-grade instrument). The timing difference of P-waves, T-waves, and QRS complex is 0.67%, 0.71%, and 0.49%, respectively, and a mean cardiac event difference is within a delay of 5.3 milliseconds. These results indicate that CaridacWave offers high-fidelity and integral heart clinical characteristics. Furthermore, we evaluate the CardiacWave system with participants under various conditions, including heart and breath rates, ages, and heart habits (e.g., tobacco use). 
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  8. null (Ed.)
    Cells can respond to signals generated by other cells that are remarkably far away. Studies from at least the 1920's showed that cells move toward each other when the distance between them is on the order of a millimeter, which is many times the cell diameter. Chemical signals generated by molecules diffusing from the cell surface would move too slowly and dissipate too fast to account for these effects, suggesting that they might be physical rather than biochemical. The non-linear elastic responses of sparsely connected networks of stiff or semiflexible filament such as those that form the extracellular matrix (ECM) and the cytoskeleton have unusual properties that suggest multiple mechanisms for long-range signaling in biological tissues. These include not only direct force transmission, but also highly non-uniform local deformations, and force-generated changes in fiber alignment and density. Defining how fibrous networks respond to cell-generated forces can help design new methods to characterize abnormal tissues and can guide development of improved biomimetic materials. 
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