Cardiovascular Biomechanics and Ultrasound Laboratory

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National University of Singapore, Department of Biomedical engineering

 

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RESEARCH PROJECTS

Human Fetal Heart Biomechanics

Between weeks 14 to 38 of gestation, the human fetal heart grows 16 times its volume, and undergo significant remodelling. In congenital diseases like Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and Tetralogy of Fallot, fetal hearts undergo mal-growth and mal-remodelling. We hypothesize that normal biomechanical forces are essential for proper fetal heart development, while abnormal biomechanical environment play a role in leading to congenital malformations, and pursue biomechanics investigation of the human fetal heart. We employ novel image registration techniques and dynamic mesh computational fluid dynamics simulations on 4D clinical ultrasound images of human fetal hearts to characterize the heartís biomechanical environment in normal and congenitally malformed hearts.

Embryonic Heart Biomechanics

The embryonic heart is the first organ to develop. It undergoes a fascinating developmental process, starting out as a simple tube and develops into a 4-chamber structure by week 8 of gestation. We hypothesize that mechanical forces are important stimuli to proper early cardiac development, seek to understand the biomechanics of the embryonic heart via novel imaging, image processing, and biomechanics simulations. Small animal embryos such as rat and chick embryos were used as normal and diseased embryonic models.

Placenta and Placenta Disease Biomechanics

The placenta is an important organ during pregnancy, whose health has great short- and long-term impact on the health of both the mother and the child. Pregnancy diseases such as Intrauterine Growth Restriction have surprisingly high prevalence and consequent mortality and morbidity, even in developed countries, and there is no proven method to prevent or treat the disease. We advocate that biomechanical approach to studying the placenta can provide new insights that can lead to better detection, diagnosis, and even treatment. Examples of our approach include mechanical testing and constitutive modelling on normal and diseased human placenta samples, investigating the use of elastography to detect placenta diseases, and image-based biomechanics simulations on placenta and umbilical blood vessels in health and disease.

Towards a Blood Pump with Low Blood Damage

Blood pumps save countless lives every day, and include the implanted type (LVAD), those in the ICU (ECMO), and those in the surgical suite (heart-lung machine). However, they impose high stresses on blood and induce foreign surface reactions to cause thrombosis, and thromboembolic complications. We pursue various strategies and technologies to attain a blood pump with low blood damage. For example, we fabricate superhydrophobic and superhemophobic surfaces to enable slip flow in blood pump surfaces to reduce stresses, we seek new ways of pumping blood, such as using electro-active polymers and utilizing resonance in roller pumping.

 

Collaborations

We are very collaborative in our work. If you have questions about our work, or if we can help you in your research work, please feel free to contact us.