Multiscale modeling of red blood cells

Dr. Igor Pivkin

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


The membrane properties of red blood cells (RBCs) control the cell's ability to deform as they flow through capillaries or squeeze through the narrow interendothelial slits of the venous sinus wall in the spleen. The RBC membrane is composed of a lipid bilayer and an attached cytoskeleton, which consists primarily of spectrin proteins arranged in a network and linked by short actin filaments at junction-complexes. The importance of understanding the mechanical properties of RBCs has motivated a number of experimental, theoretical and numerical studies. We will present a computational framework for modeling red blood cells (RBCs) using Dissipative Particle Dynamics (DPD). The three dimensional RBC model takes into account constraints of fixed surface area and fixed enclosed volume, bending energy, in-plane shear energy and viscous effects of the membrane and internal fluid. The model is validated using quantitative experimental measurements of flow characteristics of individual RBCs in microfluidic systems.

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