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Critical Phenomena in a Heterogeneous Excitable System

For my theoretical computing mini-project, I worked on a model representing the changes undergone by the myometrium in the build-up to parturition.

The myometrium is the middle layer of the uterine wall, and consists mainly of smooth muscle cells. Throughout pregnancy, these muscle cells remain in a predominantly quiescent state, and the myometrium supports the development of the foetus. However, in the moments leading up to parturition, it is thought a phase transition occurs, allowing global excitation to take place.

The model considered a lattice of excitable elements, connected by resistors. Two lattices were considered (square and hexagonal), but studies were mainly focused towards the square lattice.

Square LatticeHexagonal lattice

A copy of the assessed presentation can be found here.

The work is being continued as part of her PhD by Rachel Sheldon, and has recently been published. The abstract can be found here.