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Julio Belmonte joined NC State in August 2018 as a Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program cluster hire in Quantitative and Computational Developmental Biology as an assistant professor in the Physics Department, Belmonte develops mathematical models of biological processes. His aim is to understand the physical principles behind cell mechanics and how they give rise to force production and pattern formation. He uses computer simulations to study these processes at both the tissue level and at the subcellular level, asking how cytoskeletal networks generate the forces that ultimately shape all living things.
Belmonte is a native citizen of Brazil, where he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul studying and developing computational models for collective cell movements during tissue regeneration. He obtained his PhD in biophysics at Indiana University Bloomington, working at the lab of James Glazier. There he developed new computational models for the description of epithelial cells and applied them to study a variety of biological processes such as somitogenesis, limb formation and cystogenesis. As a multidisciplinary postdoctoral fellow at the labs of Maria Leptin and François Nédélec at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, he focused his research in the mechanisms of force production of cytoskeletal networks and their role in developmental processes.