Biomembranes: Experiments, Mathematical Modeling, and Numerical Simulation

Department of Mathematics &
Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST)
University of Maryland, College Park

Directors: Stuart Antman (, Wolfgang Losert (,
Arthur La Porta (, Dionisios Margetis (,
Ricardo Nochetto (, Arpita Upadhyaya (

Scope & Research Focus: The complex properties and functions of biological membranes
have been the subject of experimental and theoretical scrutiny for many years. Despite
continued progress in this direction, both from physical and biological perspectives, many
questions still remain unanswered.
An emerging topic of interest is the interplay of membrane geometry (i.e., shape and curvature)
and mechanics with chemistry (interactions with neighboring molecules in a fluid). An understanding
of related problems can elucidate issues of cell motility and, more generally, mechanisms of cancer.
In this RIT we will introduce and work on combining basic concepts, and
analytical and numerical techniques for the mechanics and perhaps chemistry of biomembranes.

CREDIT: Students can take 1-3 units of credit by attending this RIT, and
studying and presenting a paper on an acceptable topic agreed on with one of the organizers,
or discussing original research.
For details, contact one of the Directors/Organizers (above).

LECTURES: Thursdays, 5p.m.-6p.m. (unless noted otherwise); Room MATH 1308

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS (so far): S. Antman (Math. & IPST), W. Losert (Physics & IPST),
A. La Porta (Physics & IPST), D. Margetis (Math. & IPST), R. Nochetto (Math. & IPST),
P. Randazzo (NIH), A. Upadhyaya (Physics & IPST)

Schedule for Spring 2007:
(talks will be posted on a week-by-week basis)

  • January 25, 5:15pm-6:15pm: Introductory talk on biomembranes, by W. Losert.
  • February 1 : Continuation of talk on biomembranes, by W. Losert -- Questions and Discussion.
  • February 8: Towards a minimal model of biomembranes (and what this means): Introduction, by D. Margetis.
  • February 15: Mechanics and energy in shells: The elementary theory, by S. Antman.
  • February 22: Bending energy: Open questions, equations and simulations, by S. Pauletti and D. Margetis.
  • March 8: Bending energy (continued), by R. Nochetto.
  • March 15: On Modeling Complex Micro-Scale Systems: What Are The Equations? by B. Shapiro.
    PDF of talk here
  • March 29: A fluid - solid ring interaction model, by D. Bourne
  • April 5: NO MEETING
  • April 12: Probing polymerization forces using deformable lipid vesicles, by Arpita Upadhyaya.
  • April 19: NO MEETING