Modeling to Better Understand and Treat Chronic Bronchial Disease: from Biology to the Physics of Living and Numerical Epithelium

Project acronym: MACBRION

Topics: chronic respiratory diseases, bronchial epithelium, biophysical markers

Disciplinary fields: mechanics, acoustics, energy, processes, vascular system and nutrition, materials, nanosciences, nanotechnologies, microelectronics

Summary: Chronic respiratory diseases affect nowadays hundreds of millions of people and the current treatments are powerless to modify the natural history of exacerbations, disability and accelerated decline in respiratory function. The morphological and functional abnormalities of the bronchial epithelium are the cause of these bronchial disorders. The epithelium surface where is transported mucus, a complex fluid powered by the coordinated beating of billions of microscopic cilia carried by the epithelial cells, is strongly altered. This transport is determined by still largely unknown physical mechanisms involving a hydrodynamic coupling between the ciliary beats and the nonlinear rheological response of the mucus. The objectives of the MACBRION project are: 1) to better understand the multi-scale biophysical mechanisms, which control the transport of mucus from the individual cilia to their macroscopic assembly by elucidating the role of the determining factors: mucus rheology, ciliary density, frequency, direction, phase, beat patterns and coordination of cilia from experiments performed on epithelial samples from patients; 2) to establish the basis of a theoretical framework of predictive mucociliary transport by creating a numerical virtual environment, an 2) to identify new biophysical markers of mucociliary alteration that can be used for prognostic and therapeutic diagnostic steps in human clinical practice. The prospects are therefore to study in-vitro and in-silico innovative strategies for the development of therapeutic curative and not only symptomatic.

Project interlocutor:  Julien Favier, M2P2 (UMR 7340)

Project duration: 03/01/2018 – 02/28/2021

Call for application : Interdisciplinarité 2016

Photography credits: Photography by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash , License

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