Single cell mechanics: Mechanics of membranes and cytoskeletal networks

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Lind 305
Dirk Hartmann (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)
In this talk, I will first review existing theoretical approaches for mechanics of single cells. These are mainly determined by the membrane and the cytoskeleton. The most popular class of models among physicists are static models given in terms of energy functionals, e.g. the Canham-Helfrich energy modelling membrane mechanics or microscopic pseudo-spring / cable networks modelling cytoskeletal mechanics. On the other hand mathematicians often prefer to work in terms of continuous models based on conservation equations, e.g. the plate equation modelling mechanics of membranes on short length scales, a completely different class of models.

Considering mechanics of red blood cells, one of the most simplest cells, I will show how it is possible to link those different classes of models in a rigorous manner. Simulations of optical tweezers experiments based on finite element methods will be shown.