» Dra. Alejandra Ventura

Physical and mathematical modeling of biological processes at the cellular level: information transfer and processing..

My research focuses on the study of information transfer and processing at the cellular level. A basic characteristic of all living cells is their ability to communicate with the surrounding environment. This information sharing is based on the cell’s ability to “read” environmental cues, “translate” these intracellular signals into commands and “react” with appropriate responses. Additionally,the cell also has the ability to “write” their own messages in the extracellular medium. Understanding how the cell “talks” with their environment and how fundamental cellular functions emerge from this conversation, is still a challenge.

The study of information transfer in cellular signaling represents an opportunity to investigate in a very active area within biology,allowing a better understanding of the correlation between the topology of the underlying signaling network and the emerging behaviors, both under normal and pathological conditions. On the other hand, can improve our understanding of basic aspects of physics, in particular on how information is encoded and decoded, stored and transferred, how a system responds by filtering certain stimuli,maximizing the response to others, how to transfer “structure”, how it generates memory, how to filter “noise”, how to amplify responses, how to make continuous stimuli discrete in responses related “decision making” and how the physics involved in bio-molecular can affect all the foregoing. These issues are central to my research.

Publications since 2006

Information transfer and processing at the cellular level: retroactivity

JA Sepulchre, SD Merajver, AC Ventura. “Retroactive Signaling in Short Signaling Pathways”. PLoS ONE 7(7): e40806. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040806. Julio 2012.
P Jiang, AC Ventura, ED Sontag, SD Merajver, AJ Ninfa, D Del Vecchio. “Response to comment on Load-induced modulation of signal transduction networks. Reconciling ultrasensitivity with bifunctionality”. Science Sig 5(205). Enero 2012.
P Jiang, AC Ventura, ED Sontag, SD Merajver, AJ Ninfa, D Del Vecchio. “Load-induced modulation of signal transduction networks”. Science Sig 4(194). Oct 2011. Artículo elegido y comentado en el Editors’ Choice de la revista Science Vol 334.
ML Wynn*, AC Ventura*, JA Sepulchre, HJ Garcia, SD Merajver. “Kinase inhibitors can produce off-target effects and activate linked pathways by retroactivity”. BMC Syst Biol. 4;5(1):156. Oct 2011. *primer autor compartido.
HR Ossareh, AC Ventura, SD Merajver, D Del Vecchio. “Long signaling cascades tend to attenuate retroactivity”. Biophys J. 100(7):1617-26. Abril 2011.
KSM Varedi, AC Ventura, SD Merajver, XN Lin. “Multisite phosphorylation provides an effective and flexible mechanism for switch-like protein degradation”. PLoS One 5(12):e14029. Dic 2010.
AC Ventura, P Jiang, AJ Ninfa, L Van Wassenhove, SD Merajver, D Del Vecchio. “The impact of retroactivity on the input/output static characteristics of a signaling component”. ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Conference (DSCC) Proceedings. 2010.
AC Ventura, P Jiang, L Van Wassenhove, D Del Vecchio, SD Merjaver, AJ Ninfa. “Signaling properties of a covalent modification cycle are altered by a downstream target”. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107(22):10032-7. Junio 2010.
AC Ventura, TL Jackson, SD Merajver. “On the role of cell signaling models in cancer research”. Cancer Research 69(2):400-2. Enero 2009.
AC Ventura, JA Sepulchre, SD Merajver. “A hidden feedback in signaling cascades is revealed”. PLoS Computational Biology 4(3): e1000041. Marzo 2008.

Cellular signaling and cancer

DT Rosenthal, H Iyer, S Escudero, L Bao, Z Wu, AC Ventura, CG Kleer, EM Arruda, K Garikipati, SD Merajver. “p38{gamma} Promotes Breast Cancer Cell Motility and Metastasis through Regulation of RhoC GTPase, Cytoskeletal Architecture, and a Novel Leading Edge Behavior”. Cancer Res. 15;71(20):6338-6349. Agosto 2011.
ME Gonzalez , ML DuPrie , H Krueger, SD Merajver, AC Ventura, KA Toy , CG Kleer. “Histone Methyltransferase EZH2 Induces Akt-Dependent Genomic Instability and BRCA1 Inhibition in Breast Cancer”. Cancer Res. 71(6):2360-70. Marzo 2011.
DT Rosenthal, H Iyer, S Escudero, AC Ventura, EM Arruda, K Garikipati, SD Merajver. “From in vitro to in silico and back again: using biological and mathematical synergy to decipher breast cancer cell motility”. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2010:3261-4. 2010.
L Bao, MA Gorin, M Zhang, AC Ventura, WC Pomerantz, SD Merajver, TN Teknos, AK Mapp, Q Pan. “Preclinical development of a bifunctional cancer cell homing, PKCepsilon inhibitory peptide for the treatment of head and neck cancer.” Cancer Research 69(14):5829-34. Julio 2009.
ME Gonzalez, X Li, K Toy, M DuPrie, AC Ventura, M Banerjee, M Ljugman, SD Merajver, CG Kleer. “Down-regulation of Enhancer of Zeste-2 decreases growth of estrogen receptor negative invasive breast carcinoma and requires BRCA1”. Nature-Oncogene doi: 10.1038/onc.2008.433. Febrero 2009.
AC Ventura, SD Merajver. “Genetic determinants of aggressive breast cancer”. Annual Review of Medicine, 59:199-212. 2008.

Calcium dynamics

L Bruno, G Solovey, AC Ventura, SL Dargan, I Parker, S Ponce Dawson. “Quantifying calcium fluxes underlying calcium puffs in Xenopus laevis oocytes”.  Cell Calcium 47:273-86. Marzo 2010.
AC Ventura, J Sneyd.  “Calcium oscillations and waves generated by multiple release mechanisms in pancreatic acinar cells”. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 68(8), 2205-2231. Noviembre 2006.
AC Ventura, L Bruno, S Ponce Dawson. “Simple data-driven models of intracellular calcium dynamics with predictive power”. Phys Rev E 74, 011917. Julio 2006.
AC Ventura, L Bruno, A Demuro, I Parker, S Ponce Dawson. “A model-independent algorithm to derive Ca2+ fluxes underlying local cytosolic Ca2+ transients”. Biophysical Journal 88, 2403-2421. Abril 2005.
AC Ventura, L Bruno, S Ponce Dawson. “Probing a reduced equation for intracellular calcium dynamics”. Physica A 342/1-2, 281-287. 2004.
DE. Strier, AC Ventura, S. Ponce Dawson. “Saltatory and continuous calcium waves and the rapid buffering approximation”. Biophysical Journal 85, 3575-3586. Diciembre 2003.
AC Ventura and S. Ponce Dawson. “Analysis of elementary events in intracellular calcium signals”. Anales AFA Volumen 13. 2002.


  • PICS (International Project for Scientific Cooperation), France. 2012-2015. “Nonlinear Dynamics in optical, atomic and biological systems”.
  • ANPCyT (PICT2010) 2011-2013 “Information transfer in celular signaling: theory and experiments”. PI: Alejandra C. Ventura..


Also participating in:

  • ANPCyT (PICT2010) 2011-2014 . PI: A. Colman-Lerner.
  • ANPCyT (PICT2010) 2009-2012. PI: A. Colman-Lerner.
  • National Institutes of Health NIH (RO1 GM07479-01) 2011-2016. Co-PI: A. Colman-Lerner.



  • 2010
    CONICET Award to cover return to Argentina.
  • 2007
    Second prize for the best theoretical Ph.D. thesis competition 2006-07 from the Argentinean Physical Society.


Veronica Parasco, CIN fellowship

Laila Kazimierski


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Group members


Dra. Alejandra Ventura

Dra. Alejandra Ventura
Investigadora Adjunta, CONICET;
Grupo: Dr. Alejandro Colman Lerner .

Investigadora Adjunta Externa, University of Michigan,USA.


Veronica Parasco

Veronica Parasco

Laila Kazimierski

Laila Kazimierski