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Linking simulation to continuous mechanics of biological materials

Linking simulation to continuous mechanics of biological materials

By In Aiv Internship On June 25, 2019

Internship title: Linking simulation to continuous mechanics of biological materials

Name: Cellular Spatial Organization
Affiliation: Institut Jacques Monod, Université de Paris
Address: 15 rue Hélène Brion
E-mail: serge.dmitrieff@ijm.fr

LAB Director
Name: Nicolas Minc
Phone number: +33 1 57278052
E-mail: nicolas.minc@ijm.fr

Name: Serge Dmitrieff
Phone number: +33 1 57278052
E-mail: serge.dmitrieff@ijm.fr

Subject Keywords: Mechanics, Simulations, Biophysics
Tools and methodologies: Continuous mechanics, simulation, information theory
Summary of lab’s interests: The team “Cellular Spatial Organization” is an interdisciplinary team that hosts both theoreticians and experimentalists, and has gained a reputation on intracellular architecture and mechanics. We develop cutting-edge methods both experimental and theoretical. It is in an ideal scientific environment for a physicist interested in biological applications, being located in a biology institute with a strong focus on experimental biophysics, and neighbor to an experimental and theoretical physics institute. It is also conveniently located inside Paris at the intersection of several public transport networks.
Project summary:
Several biological materials are complex assemblies of semi-flexible filaments. They form out-of-equilibrium systems, driven by the consumption of chemical energy. Two lengthscales are usually considered to study the mechanics of these systems : the microscopic lengthscale (at the scale of single filaments) and the macroscopic lengthscale (at the material scale). The first is tackled using numerical simulations, while the second is addressed by continuum mechanics, e.g. active gels. However, bridges between the two representations are still lacking.

The goal of this project is to develop a generic method to connect the microscopic and macroscopic descriptions of biological materials. For this, the student will first address a simple system, in which continuous solutions are analytically available in some limits, and that can be simulated using an established simulation software, Cytosim. The student will then seek to use simulations to validate and expend the analytical model, and map continuous mechanical properties to the underlying microscopic parameters.
Interdisciplinary aspect of the project: This project aims at bringing together several fields from physics to better understand and predict the properties of biological material. While being a theoretical research, it will take place in a lab at the interface between theory and experiments.