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Cardiovascular and Tissue Mechanics Research Laboratory

Research Interests

The research in our group focuses on development of experimental and computational tools to increase our understanding of the role of biofluid/biosolid mechanics in progression of cardiovascular diseases and their treatments, and development of computational methods to guide clinical interventions as well as to aid in the design of bio-instruments for vascular diseases. We also characterize material behavior of biological soft tissues and synthetic biomaterials, and study cellular behavior in engineered tissues. Current research topics include calibrating computation modeling of abdominal aortic aneurysms, intervention of MRI-guided brain diseases, design of implants, and study of mechanotransduction in stem cell neuronal differentiation.

Research Topics

Image-based multi-scale modeling framework of the cardiopulmonary system - this NIH project has developed and calibrate a multiscale model of the cardiopulmonary system that enables coupled high resolution simulations of the hemodynamics as well as cardiac and vascular mechanics.

Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) - An AAA refers to a focal dilatation of the abdominal aorta affecting about 5% of elderly men in the US. Even with vast increase in understanding of AAA pathology and advances in biomedical imaging and biomechanical analysis, rupture of AAAs continues to cause a high rate of mortality. Although it has been shown by multiple studies that wall stress estimated by using patient-specific geometries predicts rupture better than the maximum diameter does, the conventional finite element analysis still could not provide a satisfactory tool to account for the complex structure of the diseased tissue and bio-chemo-mechanical process during the disease development and treatment. During the past years, we have been developing a novel computational model of AAAs that accounts for vascular G&R during the AAA progression using medical-image based geometries. This research is supported by NIH and specific research topics are:
Fig. (left) the influence of  spine contact for AAA growth and (right) a computational fluid dynamic simulation

The research highlight has been featured at HPCC.

Carotid artery bifurcaton  - Blood flow patterns and local hemodynamic parameters have been widely associated with the onset and progression of atherosclerosis in the carotid artery. Assessment of these parameters can be performed noninvasively using Cine phase-contrast (PC) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In addition, in the last two decades, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations in three dimensional models derived from anatomic medical images have been employed to investigate the blood flow in the carotid artery. This study presented the procedure of a subject specific CFD analysis on hemodynamics of the carotid artery.

Fig. (left) a work flow estimating hemodynamics parameters using PC-MRI and (right) a geometrical model of  carotid artery stenosis

Bayesian statistics coupled with computational modeling of vascular growth and remodeling
- this NSF CAREER project will illustrate that a Bayesian statistical approach can provide a break-through to overcome the difficulty in bridging the gap between biomedical modeling and clinical application.

Fig. Schematic drawing for using Bayesian approach with a vascular disease model.

Mechanobiology of adult stem cells
- Stem cells are the most versatile and promising cell source for the regeneration of aged, injured and disease tissues. However, before stem cells can be extensively used clinically several challenges must be overcome. A major hurdle lies in designing environments that trigger the desired results. Specifically, to better control the differentiation of stem cells one must understand the intertwined roles of internal and external cues in modulating their fait. To this end, we collaborate with Dr. Chan's group to particularly study roles of coupled biomechanical and chemical stimuli on neuronal differentiation of adult stem cells. This research is supported by NSF.
Fig. (left) Schematic illustrating stretch induced anisotropy and (right) mesenchymal  stem cells orientated upon a pre-stretch

Manual for

Other current research topics:

Research Groups

  • Hydrogel Engineering and Imaging Group (HEIG
  • Body Adaptation and Musculoskeletal Functions (BAMF) research
  • Fluid-Solid Growth at SimTK.org


We are looking for a postdoc who has experties and/or interest in nonlinear FEM, FSI, Bayesian calibration and parallel computing.

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