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Many problems in membrane biophysics, such as finding the equilibrium configurations of protein clusters on cell-membranes and viral capsids, can be studied as a system of interacting colloids – representing proteins or protein capsomers – on deformable surfaces. Our goal in this project is modeling the interactions between the colloids and the underlying elastic medium, which poses significant challenges given the coupled and non-linear nature of these interactions. The model will then be applied to study packing and symmetry of protein clusters on fluid shells (e.g., lipid bilayers) representing cell membranes and viral capsids.


Luigi Perotti, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering