Klug Research Group

Computational Biomechanics at UCLA


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Research

We are primarily interested in theoretical and computational biomechanics. In particular, we are developing continuum and multiscale methods to understand the mechanics of biological structures from the molecular and cellular scales upward. Some of our projects are listed below.

Mechanics of viruses and macromolecular assemblies

We are developing coarse-grained continuum theories and multiscale simulation methodologies to study the mechanics of macromolecules (proteins and nucleic acids) and macromolecular assemblies. The protein shells (capsids) of viruses are the main focus of our efforts.


Mechanics of biomembranes

We are studying the mechanics of lipid bilayer membranes under the influence of externally applied loadings, developing models to account for "realistic" biological complexities such as mixtures of lipids, intermembrane proteins, and interaction with the cytoskeleton.


Active, Motor-driven Mechanics of Semiflexible Gels and the Cytoskeleton

In collaboration with colleage Alex Levine we are using finite-element computational methods to study the physical properties of cross-linked networks of semiflexible polymer filaments. We are interested in the non-equilibrium effects of pre-stress generated by molecular motors on the nonlinear elastic properties of these gels.


Cardiac ElectroMechanics

With Alan Garfinkel (UCLA Cardiology), and Daniel Ennis (UCLA Radiology) we are developing finite element techniques for coupling electrophysiology with the mechanics of contraction for the human heart. We are working to understand the complex dynamics of fibrilation, and the effects of fibrosis, hypertropy, dilatation, and other markers of heart disease on the physical function of the heart.


Continuum Modeling of DNA

With Michael Ortiz Prof. Klug developed a director field model of DNA packaging of viral capsids. Analytical and numerical optimization techniques were employed to identify energy minimizing packaged configurations of viral DNA. Check out the Ph.D. thesis


Software

Our group's C++ research code (VOOM - Variational Object-Oriented Mechanics library) is available here. Please let us know if you find it useful, or would like to find it useful.


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