Presenter: Thomas Fai, Ph.d., Brandeis University
Topic: Fluid Mechanics of Vesicle Transport into Dendritic Spines
We model the fluid dynamics of vesicle transport into dendritic spines, which are micron-sized structures located at the postsynapses of neurons. Dendritic spines are characterized by their thin necks and bulbous heads, and recent high-resolution 3D images show a fascinating variety of spine morphologies. Our model uses lubrication theory to reduce the fluid dynamics of vesicle motion to two essential parameters representing the system geometry and elasticity. We use the immersed boundary method to simulate the intracellular flow. Upon including competing molecular motor species that push and pull on vesicles, we observe multistability that neurons could exploit in order to control the strength of synapses.