Eleni Panagiotou, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, has received a five-year, $537,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study human cells.

She will research what are known as “entanglements,” an essential part of cell division, but no one is quite sure how they work.

Working with undergraduate and graduate students from UTC, Panagiotou will use math—in particular “topology,” an area of what is typically characterized as pure mathematics—to help understand how entanglement affects cell division. In the long term, her research could help in areas such as the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

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