Biophysics of the vasculature

Academic lead: Professor C. Peter Winlove

The microcirculation consists of a network of blood vessels less than100µm in diameter. The structure of the network varies between organs, but it is highly adapted to effect the efficient exchange of nutrients and metabolites between blood and tissue.

The flow of blood is influenced by its particulate nature, by interactions with the vessel wall and from the ability of the vessels to change their caliber in response to nerve, chemical and even fluid mechanical signals. There is also a lymphatic circulation into which fluid and solutes passing through the capillary walls into the extracellular matrix is drained and pumped, though a series of "lymph hearts", back into the systemic circulation.

Our group is concerned with biophysical aspects of normal microvascular function and, increasingly, with the abnormalities associated with conditions such as diabetes and sepsis.

Current projects

  • Studies on microvascular permeability and haemodynamics, particularly in relation to diabetes.
  • Investigation of the effects of fluid mechanical forces on endothelial cells.
  • Characterisation of the microcirculation and haemodynamics of the equine foot and its contribution to venous return.
  • Theoretical and experimental studies on flow in lymphatic vessels.
  • The effects of ultrasound on the vessel wall.