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Numerical modeling of actin polymeric networks

Grant number: 14/06623-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2014
Effective date (End): April 30, 2015
Field of knowledge:Interdisciplinary Subjects
Principal Investigator:Adriano Mesquita Alencar
Grantee:Mariana Oshima Menegon
Supervisor: Cornelis Storm
Host Institution: Instituto de Física (IF). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Netherlands  
Associated to the scholarship:13/08342-8 - Rheological characterization of actin polymeric networks: measurement and numerical modeling, BP.MS


The relationship between rheological properties of eukariotic cells and their most abundant proteic constituent, the F-actin, is an outstanding question in cellular mechanics. In this context, the experimental and theoretical study of actin polymeric networks was proposed as a Master Project. In this project, the experimental part consists in the rheological characterization of F-actin and gels solutions by mechanical and image methods, in which beads, embedded in the material, have their thermal fluctuation dynamics tracked. The theoretical part consists in the development of a multiscale model for the simulation of the observed mechanical properties. The self-assembly and the resulting mechanical processes of biopolymer gels as well as the multiscale modeling have been perfomed by the group of Theoretical Modeling of Fiber Gel Rheology, from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Netherlands, led by Cornelis Storm. The group has important contributions to the computational soft matter physics. They developed the TRACTRIX algorithm that makes possible the simulational assess of the entire network with realistic singlepolymer dynamics. Considering the recent approximation between Storm's group and the "Laboratório de Microrreologia e Fisiologia Molecular", this project proposes the scientific stage in the TU/e advised by Storm. During six months the Monte Carlo off-lattice technique and the TRACTRIX algorithm will be learned and a theoretical model of the rheology of actin networks will be developed. The scientific stage complements the Brazilian group experience, for the benefit of the Master Project and other studies involving models of biological systems. (AU)

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