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International Journal of Biomedical Imaging
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 308627, 9 pages
Research Article

A Multiscale Model for Virus Capsid Dynamics

1Department of Mathematics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
2Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

Received 25 September 2009; Accepted 25 November 2009

Academic Editor: Shan Zhao

Copyright © 2010 Changjun Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Viruses are infectious agents that can cause epidemics and pandemics. The understanding of virus formation, evolution, stability, and interaction with host cells is of great importance to the scientific community and public health. Typically, a virus complex in association with its aquatic environment poses a fabulous challenge to theoretical description and prediction. In this work, we propose a differential geometry-based multiscale paradigm to model complex biomolecule systems. In our approach, the differential geometry theory of surfaces and geometric measure theory are employed as a natural means to couple the macroscopic continuum domain of the fluid mechanical description of the aquatic environment from the microscopic discrete domain of the atomistic description of the biomolecule. A multiscale action functional is constructed as a unified framework to derive the governing equations for the dynamics of different scales. We show that the classical Navier-Stokes equation for the fluid dynamics and Newton's equation for the molecular dynamics can be derived from the least action principle. These equations are coupled through the continuum-discrete interface whose dynamics is governed by potential driven geometric flows.