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Texas A&M University

Numerical Analysis Seminar

Date: November 8, 2023

Time: 3:00PM - 4:00PM

Location: BLOC 302

Speaker: Annalisa Quaini, University of Houston


Title: Towards the computational design of smart nanocarriers

Abstract: Membrane fusion is a potentially efficient strategy for the delivery of macromolecular therapeutics into the cell interior. However, existing nanocarriers formulated to induce membrane fusion suffer from a key limitation: the high concentrations of fusogenic lipids needed to cross cellular membrane barriers lead to toxicity in vivo. To overcome this limitation, we are developing in silico models that will explore the use of membrane phase separation to achieve efficient membrane fusion with minimal concentrations of fusion-inducing lipids and therefore reduced toxicity. The models we consider are formulated in terms of partial differential equations posed on evolving surfaces, i.e., the surface of the nanocarrier that undergoes fusion. For the numerical solution, we use a fully Eulerian hybrid (finite difference in time and trace finite element in space) discretization method. The method avoids any triangulation of the surface and uses a surface-independent background mesh to discretize the problem. Thus, our method is capable of handling problems posed on implicitly defined surfaces and surfaces undergoing strong deformations and topological transitions.