Ana Hočevar Brezavšček, Ph.D.Raymond and Beverly Sackler Fellow
Center for Studies in Physics and Biology
Dr. Hočevar Brezavšček is interested in applying computational methods and approaches from physics to study living systems and help bridge the gap between physics and biology. Namely, 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. The role of mechanics in morphogenesis is generally appreciated so one wonders whether epithelial folding can be understood by pure mechanics. Dr. Hočevar Brezavšček’s earlier work focused on a tubular epithelium resembling the early fruit fly embryo. She proposed a two-dimensional mechanical model of a single layer of identical cells with energy associated only with the tension of the cell cortex. Depending on the relative tension of different cell sides, the numerical solutions of the model reproduce epithelial folding that is observed in fruit fly embryos during gastrulation. She recently further extended the model to describe folding of a periodic flat two-dimensional epithelium.
More recently, Dr. Hočevar Brezavšček has focused on 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.
Dr. Hočevar Brezavšček joined The Rockefeller University in 2012 as a fellow in the Center for Studies in Physics and Biology. She earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), where she also completed her undergraduate education.