Biopolymers

Phenomenological model of airway surface layer (ASL)

We are investigating the lining in human lungs called Airway Surface Layer (ASL). The outer part of the ASL is a viscous mucus gel and the inner part of the ASL is a periciliary layer (PCL) containing cilia. The long term goal of this project is to develop a molecular model of ASL by using a combination of scaling theories, self-consistent field calculations, and coarse-grained computer simulations.

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Grafted polymers

Many aspects of the biological functioning of the ASL are strongly dependent on a major structural constituent called brush, an array of long molecules densely grafted to a cell surface. We study the compression and friction between two grafted layers theoretically, experimentally and by computer simulations.

 

Mucus-Periciliary Layer (PCL) interaction

In an effort to understand the interaction between mucus layer and PCL, we investigate the visco-elasticity of mucus, the adhesion of mucus to PCL, and the dependence of PCL stability on osmotic pressure in mucus.

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Mucus layer height regulation

The ability of mucus to flow is the key element of mucus clearance process. In order to understand the height change of mucus layer during the clearance process, we investigate how the primary generators of force, cilia and air (cough), couple to mucus flow.