Welcome to the Flows website
The cell membrane is a complex and crowded environment with different types of molecules such as lipids and proteins, which are in a dynamic equilibrium. It is therefore important to understand how these molecules interact in order to comprehend key biological phenomena such as virus entry into a cell or drug permeation through cell membranes.
Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations provide a valuable tool for studying membrane models, complementing experimental approaches. It is now possible to simulate large membrane systems, such as simplified models of bacterial and viral envelope membranes. Consequently, there is a pressing need to develop tools to visualize and quantify the dynamics of these immense systems, which typically are comprised of millions of particles.
Inspired by approaches in physics to model wind or ocean currents, we have developed a new way to display collective movements of lipid molecules constituting the membrane. We have developed visual and quantitative analyses of molecular positions and their velocity field using the streamline technique.
As the visualisation and analysis method is flexible, it should be possible to apply this approach to other large-scale ensembles of molecules. For more information about this work, please have a look at the scientific paper associated with the RSC Faraday Discussions proceedings.