Center for Interdisciplinary Mathematics
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Upcoming talk

Time:Sep. 3, 2015, 12:20pm-1:10pm.
Place:114 McAllister Building.
Speaker: Igor Aronson, from Argonne National Lab and Department of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics, Northwestern University
Title:Computational model of cell motility

Cell motility and collective migration are among the most important themes in cell biology, mathematical biology, and bioengineering, and are crucial for morphogenesis, wound healing, and immune response in eukaryotic organisms. It is also relevant for the development of effective treatment strategies for diseases such as cancer, and for the design of bioactive surfaces for cell sorting and manipulation. Substrate-based cell motility is, however, a very complex process as both regulatory pathways and physical force generation mechanisms are intertwined.

To understand the interplay between adhesion, force generation and motility, we develop a computational model based on the phase field method, which is especially suited to treat the moving and deformable boundaries involved in both individual and collective cell motility. The resulting system of coupled PDEs with the non-local volume-conservation constraint is solved by the quasi-spectral method in a periodic two-dimensional square domain. The model captures all essential phenomenology exhibited by moving cells, including the abrupt onset of motion and the response to external stimuli. We investigate by the means of large-scale GPU computations how cells navigate on substrates with patterned adhesion properties and modulated stiffness of substrate. Such substrates are currently under technological development to collect and sort cells. For multiple cells, the generalized multi phase-field model is able to predict that collective cell migration emerges spontaneously as a result of inelastic collision-type interactions of cells