Paul Macklin, an associate professor of intelligent systems engineering at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has been honored by the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) Computational Biology with their 2019 Research Prize in the category of public impact.
Macklin’s research article, “PhysiCell: An open source physics-based simulator for 3-D multicellular systems,” was nominated for the honor by members of the computational biology community, and the article was selected by PLoS’ Research Prize committee.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be nominated and selected from all the cutting-edge work published in PLoS Computational Biology in the past year,” Macklin said. “They’re the premier journal for computational biology, and it’s gratifying to have our open-source work recognized for its public impact. We want to encourage the broadest possible use of PhysiCell to enable science by many. This award is a great help toward that goal.”
Macklin’s article, which was published by PLOS Computational Biology in February 2018, highlighted PhysiCell, a computer-based, open source modeling platform that simulates both the biochemical microenvironment and cells that interact mechanically and biochemically. The simulation framework allows researchers to model how cells, for example, may react to the introduction of drugs to combat cancer or other diseases.
“We want to grow a true software ecosystem and support easier model development and sharing,” Macklin said. “We want to help modelers attack big problems that they might never have tried on their own. We want to connect educators and the public with high-end computing power. When we reach these goals, we could make an incredible impact by increasing the scale of our work, empowering other scientists, enabling new forms of education, and letting the lay public explore 3D simulations.”
Macklin plans on using the award to further support the development of PhysiCell, its dissemination, and open-access publication.
“Paul’s work is richly deserving of this award,” said Raj Acharya, dean of SICE. “His work is a perfect example of how researchers at our School are making a real-world impact through the innovative use of technology, and Paul is creating avenues for treatments to take great leaps forward in terms of both impact and speed.”