University of Cambridge > > Fluid Mechanics (DAMTP) > Flow and transport in the human placenta: a story with a twist

Flow and transport in the human placenta: a story with a twist

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  • UserIgor Chernyavsky, University of Manchester
  • ClockFriday 15 March 2024, 16:00-17:00
  • HouseMR2.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Professor Grae Worster.

The human placenta is one of the most complex and unique organs. It is a crucial life-support system that not only nourishes a growing fetus but also determines their lifelong health. The placenta is an exchange organ with an intricate disordered micro-porous structure that packs a large surface area (~10 m^2) into a relatively thin disk, attached to the baby via a highly twisted umbilical cord. The talk will summarise recent progress in hyper-multiscale 3D imaging (spanning the range of µm to cm) and associated image-based mathematical modelling of placental transport. The models explore the physics of flow- and diffusion-limited solute exchange and demonstrate a certain universality of upscaled approximations for a wide class of transported solutes. Finally, we will discuss the surprising role of the helical configuration of the umbilical cord in modulating solute exchange, and if time allows, touch on moving beyond continuum models of transport.


Tun WM, et al. (2021) J R Soc Interface 18:20210140 (

Jensen OE & Chernyavsky IL (2019) Annu Rev Fluid Mech 51:25 (

Erlich A, et al. (2019) Sci Adv 5:eaav6326 (

Chen Q, et al. (2023) Soft Matter 19:5261 (

This talk is part of the Fluid Mechanics (DAMTP) series.

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