Ana Hočevar, Ph.D.Raymond and Beverly Sackler Fellow
Center for Studies in Physics and Biology
Dr. Hočevar is interested in applying computational methods and approaches from physics to the study of living systems. Her research focuses on two distinct topics: tissue mechanics in early embryonic development and neural processes involved in vision. Epithelial folding is a common morphological process in the development of animals. As the role of mechanics in morphogenesis is generally appreciated, Dr. Hočevar earlier work focused on the mechanics of a tubular epithelium resembling the early fruit fly embryo. She proposed a two-dimensional mechanical model that relies only on the tension of the cell cortex and successfully reproduces epithelial folding that is observed in fruit fly embryos during gastrulation. Together with colleagues, she recently extended the model to describe folding of a periodic flat two-dimensional epithelium.
More recently, Dr. Hočevar has focused on computational problems in neural systems, in particular on processes involved in vision. Her interests range from understanding the networks of neurons in the mammalian retina to revealing how the brain processes visual information.