Faculty Advisor

Roger Lui


For years, researchers have studied the movement of cells and mathematicians have attempted to model the movement of the cell using various methods. This work is an extension of the work done by Zheltukhin and Lui (2011), Mathematical Biosciences 229:30-40, who simulated the stress and displacement of a one-dimensional cell using a model based on viscoelastic theory. The report is divided into three main parts. The first part considers viscoelastic models with a first-order constitutive equation and uses the standard linear model as an example. The second part extends the results of the first to models with second-order constitutive equations. In this part, the two examples studied are Burger model and a Kelvin-Voigt element connected with a dashpot in series. In the third part, the effects of substrate with variable stiffness are explored. Here, the effective adhesion coefficient is changed from a constant to a spatially-dependent function. Numerical results are generated using two different functions for the adhesion coefficient. Results of this thesis show that stress on the cell varies greatly across each part of the cell depending on the constitute equation we use, while the position and velocity of the cell remain essentially unchanged from a large-scale point of view.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Mathematical Sciences

Project Type


Date Accepted





adhesion coefficient, constitutive equation, Burger model, fixed-point method, integral equation, cell motility, viscoelastic