My research interests are in dynamical systems theory and control, with applications to the fields of systems biology and synthetic biology. Most recently, I:

  1. pioneered a control-oriented dynamical systems approach to modeling trauma coagulation to help tailor the resuscitation of severely injured patients;
  2. quantified why biomanufacturing technologies are more useful for space exploration than traditional chemical and mechanical techniques; and
  3. showed mathematically that a possible rationale for natural evolution is optimally-efficient search in a dynamic environment, a process that is tunably responsive to environment variations through the amount of selection and that is also translatable to non-biological applications that similarly operate in variable environs.

Systems Biology

Targeted Clinical Control of Trauma Patient Coagulation
SFGH Trauma Nurse
A nurse and trauma patient in the ER of San Francisco General Hospital. Image from a UCSF news release after the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash. Personalized treatment could alleviate massive transfusion mortality, which is 40%-70% in the best trauma centers.

This research develops a methodology for personalizing the clinical treatment of severely injured patients with trauma-induced coagulation deficits.

  • Amor A. Menezes, Ryan F. Vilardi, Adam P. Arkin, and Mitchell J. Cohen. Targeted clinical control of trauma patient coagulation through a thrombin dynamics model. Science Translational Medicine, 9(371):eaaf5045, January 4, 2017.

Efficent and Resilient Search in Dynamic Environments
RCAC SGS2-33A Glider
The Schweizer SGS 2-33A trainer glider in the colors of the Air Cadet League of Canada. The decision-making process to manage glider flight is complicated by an uncertain and dynamic flight environment, but bioinspired evolutionary search could be useful.

This work models biological performance in fluctuating environments, and deploys a resultant, biologically inspired, on-line, search-based optimization technique called Selective Evolutionary Generation Systems (SEGS) in several applications.

  • Amor A. Menezes and Pierre T. Kabamba. Efficient search and responsiveness trade-offs in a Markov chain model of evolution in dynamic environments. Mathematical Biosciences, 276:44-58, June 2016.
  • Amor A. Menezes and Pierre T. Kabamba. Efficient and resilient micro air vehicle flapping wing gait evolution for hover and trajectory control. Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence, 54:1-16, September 2016.
  • Amor A. Menezes, Dhaval D. Shah and Ilya V. Kolmanovsky. An evaluation of stochastic model-dependent and model-independent glider flight management. In press, IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology.

Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Genetic Controllers
Bacterial Control System for Chemotaxis
The problem of designing synthetic bacterial control systems that are similar to the natural one for chemotaxis is still open. Image from "Grand Challenges for Control: No. 2," R. Murray, IEEE CSS: The Impact of Control Technology, 2011.

This effort seeks to identify a generalized set of biological signal processing modules for use in synthetic biology applications.

Space Synthetic Biology
Towards synthetic biological approaches to resource utilization on space missions
Cover image from Menezes et al., J. R. Soc. Interface, Jan. 2015.

Techniques from synthetic biology promise to be a useful approach to payload minimization for long-duration space missions.

  • Amor A. Menezes, John Cumbers, John A. Hogan, and Adam P. Arkin. Towards synthetic biological approaches to resource utilization on space missions. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 12(102):20140715, January 6, 2015. Cover article.
  • Amor A. Menezes, Michael G. Montague, John Cumbers, John A. Hogan, and Adam P. Arkin. Grand challenges in space synthetic biology. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 12(113):20150803, December 6, 2015. Headline review article in synthetic biology.