Focus on a joint research project: NUM4SEP


NUM4SEP (Since 2017)

Numerics for Spherical Electroporation

 Principal Investigators: 

  • Clair Poignard, MONC project-team, Inria Bordeaux – Sud-Ouest Research Centre
  • Frederic Gibou, Dpt of Mechanical Eng., U.C. Santa Barbara

Research objectives:

The goal of NUM4SEP is to provide a link between the quite well-understood cell electroporation and the tumor-like multicellular spheroid models. The distribution of the electric field in tumors as well as the uptake of molecules within electroporated spheroids can be precisely studied. It has been established that spheroid can provide new understanding of pulse delivery and molecular uptake on tumors, however there is a lack of numerical models to describe in silico the observations. Multiscale numerical electroporation modeling of spheroids is thus a crucial task to fill the gap between micro and macro-scales. NUM4SEP aims at addressing the numerical difficulties raised by the non-linear multiphysics of spheroids electroporation.

Visualisation of the electroporated region

Isolines of the electric field in the vicinity of a cell.

Simulations of a cluster of 31000 cells under an electroporating electric field, from Mistani et al.


Scientific achievements:

  • A Voronoi Interface approach combined with an adaptive Quad/Oc-tree grids to refine cell membranes has been developed to the study the transient electroporation of about one hundred cells in 3D configuration. This paper is a “proof-of-concept’’ of the numerical methods, but the comparison with the experiments needs a much higher number of cells (several tens of thousands).

  • We adapt the above method with parallel computing strategy to compute the time-dependent 3D electroporation problem on a cluster of 30 000 biological cells. The forthcoming work will deal with quantitative comparison with biological observation.

Publications and Awards:

  • 4 publications

Selected Publication:

P. Mistani, A. Guittet, C.Poignard, F. Gibou. “A Parallel Voronoi-Based Approach for Mesoscale Simulations of Cell Aggregate Electropermeabilization”.  J. Comp. Phys.


  • Organisation of the workshop at BIS’2017 “Level-set methods, Parallel computing and Uncertainty quantification: Techniques and applications’’. (Chair/Co-chair: C. Poignard/F. Gibou)
  • Organisation of a symposium at AIMS 2018 “Numerical methods involving implicit and non parametric interfaces’’. (C. Poignard with C. Kublik, J. Dambrine and A. Collin. F. Gibou is invited speaker)