Fluid mechanics of waste clearance from the brain

Over the last decade it has been shown that waste is cleared from the brain along different fluid pathways. In this project we will use one or more fluid mechanics models (diffusion, convection-diffusion, Navier-Stokes equations, Biot's equations) to answer which mechanism is most likely to explain waste clearance from the brain as seen in experimental data.
Master

Over the last decade, the study of brain fluids has gained renewed interest after the proposal of a full waste clearance system through water pathways in the brain. However it is still not clear which mechanisms contribute most to clearance of waste products. In addition it has been shown that sleep increase the effectiveness of this waste clearance system, yet the mechanism behind is poorly understood. In this project we will use one or more models from mechanics (diffusion, convection-diffusion, Navier-Stokes equations, Biot's equations) to answer which of these mechanisms best explain experimental data of waste clearance from the brain during awake and sleep.

Goal

The main goal is to understand how waste is cleared from the brain, and possibly also why sleep is important for optimal waste clearance.

The first goal will be to implement and verify the solver of the differential equations used to describe the clearance process.

The second goal is to use the solver adding physiologically relevant parameters and geometries.
Finally, if time, the student will adjust parameters, geometry and boundary conditions to best describe experimental procedures and compare several explanation models with the data from the relevant experiments.

Learning outcome

Implement and solve partial differential equations in Python with FEniCS.
Handle and make sense of (possibly large) data sets obtained from medical experiments (MRI images, intracranial pressure recordings etc.)
Interdisciplinary problem solving, a very important skill both in research and industry.

Qualifications

Mathematics/partial differential equations, programming, mechanics/fluid mechanics.
There is no particular need for a background in medicine or physiology.

Supervisors

  • Vegard Vinje

 

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