The overarching purpose of my research is to understand the biomechanics of embryonic chicken development. My current research focuses on one specific objective from the NSF grant that Professor Ramasubramanian’s research is funded by; to characterize flexion and torsion of embryos quantitatively. Body flexure is the process that curves the originally straight embryonic body axis and body torsion is the process that rotates it. Flexion and torsion together lead to the fetal position of embryos. The biophysical forces driving these processes and thus causing the fetal position of embryos are not yet known and this is what we want to determine. Being able to quantify these body flexures is essential because it will eventually allow us to create a comprehensive computational model of development and thus determine the distribution of forces that drive flexion and torsion. Before this point, we had simply assigned a rough scale of 1-5 to quantify body flexure based on the position of the eye of the embryo. Our goal is now to use piecewise Bezier functions/curves to quantify the changes in flexure that occur over 10 hours, from Hamburger and Hamilton Stage 14 to Stage 15.
My work in accomplishing this goal includes point selection along the curvature of the embryos at each time point using ImageJ. These points are then used in the MATLAB code I developed to plot the selected points on the original image of the embryo. Additionally, the points are used in the MATLAB code developed by Professor Ramasubramanian to obtain the four control points necessary for the piecewise Bezier curve function.