Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Paula Vasquez


The pituitary gland is a vital part of the endocrine system found in all vertebrates and is responsible for the production of hormones that influence many physiological processes in the organism’s body. Although much has been learned of pituitary organogenesis, studying the dynamics of the cells in the developing pituitary gland is difficult. Pituitary organogenesis has been studied through “snapshots” of a developing pituitary gland by removing and viewing the pituitary glands of different specimens. Thus, how the individual cells in the developing pituitary gland behave and interact with one another is not fully understood. To aid in understanding pituitary organogenesis, we created a computational model to simulate the proliferation of stem cells in the pituitary gland of a mouse and the effects of forces acting on those cells as the pituitary gland develops. This model focuses on the proliferation and dynamics of stem cells in the pituitary gland once Rathke’s pouch has formed a ring structure separate from the oral ectoderm. This model represents cells as polygons with a finite number of vertices, where forces acting on the cell will be represented as a force acting on the vertices of the cell. The forces simulated in this model and the simulation of cellular proliferation will be discussed in detail.

Included in

Mathematics Commons