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Advancing treatment of patients with cardiovascular disease with computational modeling.

Our lab develops tools for simulating the cardiovascular system, with a particular focus on blood flow in the vasculature and the heart. We build patient specific models from medical image data to create a customized model for each individual patient, which represents their unique vascular anatomy. We then use that model to run simulations of blood flow, which allows us to do virtual surgery, virtual treatment planning, and risk assessment. 

Much of our focus is developing numerical tools and computational algorithms to ensure we can capture things like cardiovascular physiology, moving heart and vessel walls or valve leaflets in a realistic way. We also develop advanced algorithms for optimization of surgeries and medical devices and uncertainty quantification.  Ultimately, we aim to bring the same kind of predictive simulations that we’ve come to routinely expect in for example, the aerospace industry to medicine. Our goal is to make better predictions about patients' individual outcomes following surgery or other interventions, and ultimately improve their overall outcomes and quality of life. 

Congenital Heart Disease 

Congenital defects affect 1 in 100 babies; it’s quite a bit more common than people might think. Congenital defects are the leading cause of infant mortality in the U.S. One of the most severe defects is single ventricle physiology, where essentially babies are born missing half their heart. You have only one pumping chamber where you should have two. When this happens, patients have to undergo a drastic series of three open-heart surgeries before they are 3- or 4- years old. We’re using engineering tools to look at how those surgeries are performed, and whether we could optimize them or replace them entirely.  We are also investigating a range of other pediatric and congenital cardiovascular applications, including Kawasaki Disease, Tetralogy of Fallot, and pulmonary hypertension. 

Adult Cardiovascular Disease 

Neart half a million patients undergo surgery for coronary artery disease each year.   We are applying patient specific modeling to coronary bypass graft surgery to better understand causes of vein graft failure and the choice of optimal surgical techniques for individual patients.    We are also working on projects in vascular surgery and medical devices.      

Our research interests include: 

  • cardiovascular disease and biofluid mechanics
  • shape optimization for complex flows
  • pediatric cardiology and congenital heart disease
  • coronary artery disease 
  • uncertainty quantification
  • multiscale modeling
  • vascular design principles
  • vascular growth and remodeling
  • cardiovascular devices
  • ventricular flow simulation
  • fluid structure interaction

Specific diseases we are currently studying include: 

  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Single Ventricle Physiology
  • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Kawasaki Disease
  • Tetralogy of Fallot