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Research & Initiatives

Computational Simulations

Blood flow plays a critical role in maintaining the form and function of the blood vessels and the heart. Alterations in blood flow can induces structural changes (e.g., stenosis, heart failure), and thus, is an important indicator of disease. 

Our group is developing computer models reconstructed from medical images of the patients. We use these models to perform physics-based blood flow and structural simulations, which can be used in virtual treatment planning or disease diagnosis. We are also developing more advanced, data-driven approaches for computer simulations that leverage recent advances in physics-informed neural networks.

 

We hope that these computer models will ultimately play a key role in designing surgeries, planning interventions or assessing disease pathophysiology, with no additional risk to the patients. 

Vortex shedding in stenotic pipe
Vortex shedding in stenotic pipe

We used highly-resolved direct numerical simulations to characterize transition to turbulence that occurs in stenotic vessels.

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Blood flow instabilities inside brain aneurysms
Blood flow instabilities inside brain aneurysms

Fluctuating kinetic energy in brain aneurysms located at middle cerebral artery.

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Vein graft failure in heart bypass patients
Vein graft failure in heart bypass patients

Vein graft disease affects patients who receive heart bypass graft surgery. We demonstrated that vein grafts that are exposed to extremely low WSS are prone to occlusion.

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Advanced Medical Imaging

Along with computational methods, we are also developing advanced medical imaging methods that can allow us to not only assess the anatomy, but also physiology of the patients.

One key area of interest is dynamic perfusion CTA imaging that can allow us to quantify blood flow inside the heart muscles. We are exploring the use of this imaging modality in heart disease patients, in particular to assess vessel-specific ischemia in myocardial tissue. 

We are also developing image analysis methods to enhance 4D Flow MRI, which is an advanced imaging modality that can provide blood flow inside large vessel, albeit at low resolutions. Our current aim is to develop physics-based models that can enhance coarse 4D Flow MR imaging, with a focus in assessing congenital heart defects in pediatric patients. 

Dynamic CT Myocardial Perfusion (CT-MPI)
Dynamic CT Myocardial Perfusion (CT-MPI)

We have developed a robust pipeline to evaluate vessel-specific ischemic using dynamic CT-MPI in heart disease patients. This approach can allow us to quantify blood flow in different locations of the heart muscle, and make more informed decision regarding intervention strategies.

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Vessel Wall MRI (VW-MRI) in cerebral aneurysms
Vessel Wall MRI (VW-MRI) in cerebral aneurysms

We have developed an image analysis pipeline to assess aneurysm wall enhancement from VW-MRI to develop 3D maps of MRI wall intensities. These methods can help in identifying aneurysms that are at risk of rupture.

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