Biomathematics / Computational Biology Colloquium

A continuous energy-based immersed boundary method with improved accuracy and applications

Speaker: Ondrej Maxian, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1314

Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2018, 12:30 p.m.


The immersed boundary method is a mathematical formulation and numerical method for solving fluid–structure interaction problems. For many biological problems, such as models that include the cell membrane, the immersed structure is a two-dimensional infinitely thin elastic shell immersed in an incompressible viscous fluid. When the shell is modeled as a hyperelastic material, forces can be computed by taking the variational derivative of an energy density functional. A new method for computing a continuous force function on the entire surface of the shell is presented here. The new method is compared to a previous formulation where the surface and energy functional are discretized before forces are computed. For the case of Stokes flow, a method for computing quadrature weights is provided to ensure the integral of the elastic spread force density remains zero throughout a dynamic simulation. Tests on the method are conducted and show that it yields more accurate force computations than previous formulations as well as more accurate geometric information such as mean curvature. The method is then applied to a model of a red blood cell in capillary flow and a 3D model of cellular blebbing. The applications highlight the versatility of the method and point to its strengths and limitations.