Biophysical Modeling Group Meeting

Date & Time

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.

About the Speaker

Thomas Fai earned his Ph.D. in 2014 at the Courant Institute, advised by Charles Peskin. He was subsequently an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard SEAS. Since 2018, he is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Brandeis University. His research is focused on problems in mathematical biology, computational fluid dynamics, and applied probability.
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