Thursday, September 06, 2012
Undergraduate Vanessa Punal publishes in Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Former Oakland University undergraduate physics major Vanessa Punal has published a paper in the September 2012 issue of the journal Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology. The article “A Perturbation Solution of the Mechanical Bidomain Model” (Volume 11, Pages 995-1000) is based on her research while at OU. During her undergraduate career, Punal was awarded the William A. Breitmoser Jr. Scholarship in Physics in July 2011, was granted a University of Nebraska-Lincoln WoPHY Travel Scholarship, and was supported in part by a Provost’s Undergraduate Research Award. Punal worked with CBR member Brad Roth, of the Department of Physics, whose research is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. This fall she became a first year graduate student in a neuroscience program at Duke University.
The introduction of Punal’s paper is reproduced below (references removed).
The mechanical behavior of cardiac tissue has been studied
for decades. Nevertheless, the field remains vibrant because
of new concepts such as mechanotransduction and
novel experimental applications such as tissue engineering.
Many of these issues concern the mechanical coupling of the
intracellular and extracellular spaces. For instance, interactions
between cells and the surrounding extracellular matrix
occur in part through integrin proteins, which are thought
to influence aspects of cellular function.
In cardiac tissue, myocytes interact with the extracellular
matrix mechanically, thereby regulating the remodeling of
the tissue and cell structure—
this is a type of mechanotransduction. Engineered cardiac tissue is becoming increasingly
important in clinical applications and has
been proposed as a tool to study cardiac ischemia. In particular, abnormal behavior at the border
zone between ischemic and non-ischemic tissue can modulate
tissue stress and strain, which could trigger remodeling. The common theme among these
various studies is a focus on the mechanical interaction between
the intracellular and extracellular spaces. In order to
understand these phenomena better, new theoretical models
that highlight this interaction are required.
Puwal and Roth derived a mechanical bidomain
model for cardiac tissue... The bidomain model
represents the tissue’s intracellular and extracellular spaces
individually as macroscopic continua and accounts for the
coupling between the spaces with a spring constant…The analysis conducted by Puwal and Roth looked
at simple examples, with displacements in one dimension.
… Our goal, in comparison, is to
look at a more complicated two dimensional example that
better illustrates the implications of the model but nevertheless
is simple enough to solve analytically.