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Dr Maria Bruna

Dr Maria Bruna

‘Multiscale modelling of interacting particle systems’

Dr Maria Bruna, University of Oxford

Particle separation technologies find applications as diverse as the food and pharmaceutical industries to clinical research. As a typical example, cell sorting – the process to isolate stem cells effectively from a heterogeneous cell population – is of critical importance to stem cell therapies, yet it proves a formidable challenge as only about 1 in every 10,000 to 15,000 bone marrow cells is a stem cell. Despite their importance, a detailed theoretical understanding of separation processes is lacking, with many technologies relying almost entirely on experimental observations. Cell sorting, as many processes involving systems of interacting particles, can be modelled with nonlinear crossdiffusion systems of equations. In this fellowship I will provide a mathematical framework for the study of nonlinear crossdiffusion systems. I will integrate techniques from two areas of applied mathematics, namely asymptotic methods and gradient flows, to make them applicable to a wider class of models. Results from my research will help improve our understanding of mixing and separation process, making techniques such as cell sorting more efficient. Also, by generalising the concept of gradient flows to asymptotic equations, my work will bring effective and innovative mathematical tools to a wider range of applications across disciplines.

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