Friday, April 5, 2013 - 12:45pm
The “VLP” is a ten-year collaborative effort across the medical school (Cystic Fibrosis and Pulmonary Center), applied mathematics, chemistry, computer science, and physics. Our goal is to understand lung biology and mechanics sufficiently to engineer health. The leading actor in this story is the mucus barrier that lines the airways, which is the first line of defense from inhaled agents. Our lungs remain healthy if mucus is transported toward the larynx by coordinated cilia, tidal breathing, and cough faster than pathogens can diffuse through the barrier to the epithelium or colonize in the airway. Thus to understand normal and compromised lung mechanics, we have to understand flow and diffusive transport properties of lung mucus. My lecture is a progress report on projects that I am involved in, heavily steeped in experiments, data, and mathematical modeling, with a large cast of collaborators.