Mucus: Defender of the Lung!


The UNC Cystic Fibrosis Center




The Virtual Lung Project



During normal respiration, thousands of bacteria and other airborne irritants are inhaled every hour. Despite this constant intake of pathogens, the body is able to maintain sterility in the airways below the larynx. The task of accomplishing this feat falls to the protect airway surface liquid layer, a two-phase liquid consisting of a viscoelastic mucus layer as well as the periciliary liquid layer through which cilia beat, clearing mucus from the airways. In diseases such as cystic fibrosis, the mucus layer becomes increasing solid-like, leading to a decrease in mucus clearance as well as an increased rate of infection. In order to understand the phenomena of mucociliary clearance, it is necessary to understand the physical properties of the mucus layer as well as the driving forces that propel the fluid: the pressure gradient consistent with normal tidal breathing and the forces imparted on the mucus layer by cilia. It is the goal of my research to characterized and model the airway surface liquid in terms of its physical properties, chemical composition, flow, and response to pathogenic material. My current research projects are:


1)      Mucus Structure, Rheology, and Flow

2)      Mucus Adhesion

3)      Cilia Force Generation


Stop back by from time to time to see how I am doing……






2010 Fallesen, T., D. HIll, et al. "Magnet polepiece design for uniform magnetic force on superparamagnetic beads" Review of Scientific Instruatments 81.

2010 Hill, D. B., B. Lindley, et al. "The Micro-Parallel Plate Rheometer." Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics Preprint.

2010 Hill, D. B., V. Swaminathan, et al. "Force Generation and Dynamics of Individual Cilia under External Loading." Biophysical Journal 98 (1): 57-66.

2010 Lindley, B., M. G. Forest, et al. "Spatial Stress and Strain Distributions of Viscoelastic Layers in Oscillatory Shear." Mathematics and Computers in Simulation Accepted.

2009 Lindley, B., E. Howell, et al. "Stress Communication and Filtering of Viscoelastic Layers in Oscillatory Shear." Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics 156: 112-120.

2008 Hill, D. B., J. C. Macaosko, et al. "Motion-enhanced, differential interference contrast (MEDIC) microscopy of moving vesicles in live cells: VE-DIC updated." Journal of Microscopy-Oxford 231 (3): 433-439.

2008 Mitran, S. M., M. G. Forest, et al. "Extensions of the Ferry shear wave model for active linear and nonlinear microrheology." Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics 154 (2-3): 120-135.

2006 Matsui, H., V. E. Wagner, et al. "A physical linkage between cystic fibrosis airway surface dehydration and Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103 (48): 18131-6.

2004 Hill, D. B., M. J. Plaza, et al. "Fast vesicle transport in PC12 neurites: velocities and forces." European Biophysics Journal with Biophysics Letters 33 (7): 623-632.

2002 Holzwarth, G., K. Bonin, et al. "Forces required of kinesin during processive transport through cytoplasm." Biophysical Journal 82 (4): 1784-1790.

2000 Holzwarth, G. M., D. B. Hill, et al. "Polarization-modulated differential-interference contrast microscopy with a variable retarder." Applied Optics 39 (34): 6288-6294.