SBME Presents – Dr. Mattia Bacca

Mechanics of diffusion-mediated budding and implications for virus replication and infection

Location: LSI 1002 and Zoom

Abstract: Budding allows virus replication and macromolecular secretion in cells through the formation of a membrane protrusion (bud) that evolves into an envelope. Envelope formation requires the transport of transmembrane (spike) proteins across the membrane, thus, is a diffusion-limited process. This paper proposes a simple model to describe budding in the context of virus replication, discovering size limitations and size-dependent kinetics. The optimal virus size, giving fastest replication, is validated against experiments for Coronavirus, HIV, Flu, and Hepatitis. Moreover, the model can predict the size polydispersity of a virus population, here tested against Coronavirus. Finally, the model is extended to describe infection via endocytosis and membrane fusion.


Dr. Mattia Bacca

Assistant Professor  |  Department of Mechanical Engineering, UBC

Speaker Bio: Mattia Bacca obtained a Bachelor and Master degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Trento (Italy), in 2009. He then obtained a PhD in Structural Engineering at the same university, in 2013. Then he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials at the University of California, Santa Barbara (USA) as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Finally, he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of British Columbia (Canada), in 2017, as a faculty member. His research is devoted to understanding the biological world through the use of mechanics via the development of mathematical and computational models.