Department of Mathematics
February 26, 2013
Variational Approaches to Membrane Modeling: Pore Dynamics in Liposomes
The role of a biological membrane is to act as a barrier between ionic solutions. One way life controls ionic solution is through ion channels. A second more drastic way is by introducing a hole in the membrane itself. For example, in hemolysis, the osmotic swelling and rupture of a red-blood cell, a single hole forms in the membrane leading to the leak out of the contents of the cell. Similarly, in exocytosis a hole is formed by joining two membrane bilayers. These processes are mathematically challenging to study because they involve physical forces on multiple scales and predicting the time course is more consequential than the equilibrium end states. This talk will show how such complicated fluid mechanical problems yield to quantitative modeling and simulation when using the diffusive interface and energetic variational approach. This is joint work with Fredric Cohen and Robert Eisenberg at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL.