Center for Integrative Biomedical Computing

Collaborating Investigator(s): Alison Marsden, PhD
Institution: University of California, San Diego

Professor Alison Marsden directs the Cardiovascular Biomechanics Computation (CBC) Lab at the University of California, San Diego. Her laboratory pursues the development and application of cardiovascular blood flow simulation tools to tackle clinically relevant questions in adult and pediatric cardiovascular disease. These developments include multiscale modeling and fluid structure interaction methods, with validations of simulation results against clinical data. Clinical applications include models of reverse graft stenosis to identify precursors of vein graft failure in post-CABG patients and thrombotic risk assessment in children with coronary artery aneurysms caused by Kawasaki disease. The CBC Laboratory also develops and releases open source tools, SimVascular to facilitate the simulation of cardiovascular function.

The CBC Laboratory uses computational models to study the interactions between vascular morphology and its effects on blood flow. These computational models typically include patient-specific geometries that are derived from 3D images (and in some cases, hypothetical modifications to vasculature). The results of these simulations help scientists and clinicians understand the relationships among structural, cardiovascular pathologies (e.g., congenital heart defects), and cardiovascular function. The work of Professor Marsden's laboratory is providing a means to predict the outcome of surgeries, systematically test and optimize new surgical approaches and devices, and personalize treatments for individual patients—and is thereby leading to paradigm shifts in clinical practice.

Several aspects of this work benefit directly with the technology in the Center and the goals in the Image and Geometric Analysis TRD. First, segmentation of vascular blood pools remains an important aspect of this work, and the CBC group is typically looking for more efficient tools/methods for different types of data. Second, open source tools for meshing continue to be a challenge for this group (and many others), and there is a concerted effort to examine how the Center's meshing technology might facilitate this research. Finally, there is a strong interest from the CBC Laboratory in statistical shape analysis and uncertainty quantification. In particular, important aspects of cardiovascular function are affected by pathological morphology, and the investigators hope to use a combination of simulation and shape analysis to form general quantifiable properties of morphology that help determine pathological function (e.g., parameters derived through projections onto low-dimensional shape space). There are also important needs surrounding the uncertainty in both the patient-specific geometries and the resulting simulations. Thus, the uncertainty analysis work in the Image and Geometric Analysis TRD and the uncertainty visualization work in the Visualization TRD are directly motivated and influenced by this DBP.