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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
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    The haematopoietic system has a highly regulated and complex structure in which cells are organized to successfully create and maintain new blood cells. It is known that feedback regulation is crucial to tightly control this system, but the specific mechanisms by which control is exerted are not completely understood. In this work, we aim to uncover the underlying mechanisms in haematopoiesis by conducting perturbation experiments, where animal subjects are exposed to an external agent in order to observe the system response and evolution. We have developed a novel Bayesian hierarchical framework for optimal design of perturbation experiments and proper analysis of the data collected. We use a deterministic model that accounts for feedback and feedforward regulation on cell division rates and self-renewal probabilities. A significant obstacle is that the experimental data are not longitudinal, rather each data point corresponds to a different animal. We overcome this difficulty by modelling the unobserved cellular levels as latent variables. We then use principles of Bayesian experimental design to optimally distribute time points at which the haematopoietic cells are quantified. We evaluate our approach using synthetic and real experimental data and show that an optimal design can lead to better estimates of model parameters. 
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  4. Preparation of thin films by dissolving polymers in a common solvent followed by evaporation of the solvent has become a routine processing procedure. However, modeling of thin film formation in an evaporating solvent has been challenging due to a need to simulate processes at multiple length and time scales. In this work, we present a methodology based on the principles of linear non-equilibrium thermodynamics, which allows systematic study of various effects such as the changes in the solvent properties due to phase transformation from liquid to vapor and polymer thermodynamics resulting from such solvent transformations. The methodology allows for the derivation of evaporative flux and boundary conditions near each surface for simulations of systems close to the equilibrium. We apply it to study thin film microstructural evolution in phase segregating polymer blends dissolved in a common volatile solvent and deposited on a planar substrate. Effects of the evaporation rates, interactions of the polymers with the underlying substrate and concentration dependent mobilities on the kinetics of thin film formation are studied. 
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