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2013-10-01 - Paula Vasquez


Tuesday, October 1, 2013
316 Stanley Thomas Hall
Tulane University (Uptown)

Refreshments will be served


Paula Vasquez, University of South Carolina


Mathematical and numerical challenges describing mucus transport properties


The first line of defense of human lungs against inhaled pathogens is mucus.  Inhaled viruses, bacteria and particulates land on the mucus layer and diffuse within.  These foreign particles are cleared if flow of the mucus layer toward the larynx dominates particle diffusion through the layer.  Understandably, the characterization of mucus transport properties and their relation to mucus composition and microstructural organization are very active areas of research. In this lecture, we highlight our strategy to build mathematical and numerical tools for lung mucus transport properties and their applications to lung biology and medicine.  This strategy necessarily involves experiments, analysis of the data, and attempts to build a predictive theory relevant to how particles diffuse in mucus and how mucus flows under different physiological driving conditions. In particular, we will discuss the importance of accurately describing the unstable Lagrangian field surrounding a particle moving through a viscoelastic material, the formulation of constitutive laws capable of describing measured properties of lung mucus, and the mathematical characterization of microheterogeneities via clustering algorithms.  These research projects involve collaborations at UNC that are either inspired by or directly related to experiments carried out in the Physics Department and Cystic Fibrosis Center.


Center for Computational Science, Stanley Thomas Hall 402, New Orleans, LA 70118