UTSA Alamo CIMA Mentor


Dr. Ender Finol

Image-Based Modeling of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Abdominal aortic aneurysms are balloon-shaped expansions of the abdominal aorta, which grow as an asymptomatic condition and carry an overall mortality rate greater than 80% when they rupture. The assessment of their risk of rupture is done in the clinic by measuring its maximum diameter from contrast-enhanced computed tomography images. This one-size-fits-all approach is not always reliable as there are small aneurysms that rupture and large aneurysms that remain stable for years. This project will introduce the student to image processing techniques and computational modeling algorithms that are used to follow a pipeline that starts with the acquisition of clinical images and ends with the creation of computer models of patient-specific aneurysms, which are used for wall mechanics and geometric modeling analyses. The primary outcome of this research is to discover new markers for rupture risk assessment that can be derived from the clinical images, thereby making use of the standard of care for patient follow-up.

Requirements

  • Bioscience I
  • Calculus I
  • Physics I

Optional

  • Calculus II
  • Statics and/or Mechanics of Materials
  • knowledge of CAD software such as Autodesk, SolidWorks, or equivalent
Small Animal Vessel Mechanics

In this project, we investigate the role of pentagalloyl glucose (PGG) on the suppression of abdominal aortic aneurysm growth. Suitable mouse aneurysm models are used until euthanasia at which time the aorta is harvested for subsequent biomechanical testing. Mouse aortas are mounted on a pressure-inflation apparatus to evaluate their change in diameter as a function of intraluminal pressure increments. The experimental data is then used to generate stress-strain curves characteristic of the mechanical properties of the specimens. This project will introduce the student to mechanical testing protocols with ex vivo tissue specimens and the fundamentals of solid mechanics. The primary outcome of this research is to characterize mathematically the mechanical properties of mouse abdominal aortas with and without the application of PGG to assess the role of this compound in suppressing aneurysm growth in an animal model.

Requirements

  • Calculus I
  • Physics I and lab

Optional

  • Calculus II
  • Mechanics of Solids
  • Statics and/or Mechanics of Materials
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