Cardiovascular Engineering

SBES Cardiovascular Engineering was formed from a foundation in vascular biology, developing novel treatments through practical application. Research pursues answers to long-disputed issues such as biomedical irreproducability by looking at problems from their foundational issues. Hands-on, fully engaged research has produced an environment which streamlines results. Clinicians are specialized in their fields, and equipment is highly suited to the task.


John Chappell

John ChappellThe Chappell Lab studies how blood vessel formation occurs and in particular how cells known as pericytes migrate along developing vessels and ultimately wrap around and stabilize new vasculature. We develop computational models alongside experimental approaches to understand these processes, as well as engineer new therapeutic approaches to treat vascular-related diseases.

Location: Virginia Tech campus

Tom Diller

Tom DillerMeasurement of heat transfer has wide-ranging applications in biomedical engineering -- from thermal comfort to blood perfusion. Several different non-invasive thermal methods for perfusion measurement have been developed. Applications are being developed for quantification of peripheral vascular disease, burn severity, pressure ulcers, wound healing, and melanoma detection.

Location: Virginia Tech campus

Robert Gourdie

Robert GourdieThe research of the laboratory is on the subunit proteins of gap junctions, which are called connexins. Connexins are the channels that enable direct communication between cells, as well as engineer new therapeutic approaches to treat vascular-related diseases.

Location: Virginia Tech campus

Metin Gurcan

Metin GurcanThe qualitative analysis of histopathological and radiological images is time-consuming and subject to inter- and intra-reader variations. This affects the prediction of the clinical outcome in an undesirable way. As a result, we are developing image analysis systems for computer-assisted interpretations of these images to help pathologists and radiologists in their analysis of images. Our goal is to provide computational tools with which they can extract quantitative features useful for more objective and accurate detection, diagnosis, and prognosis. In addition, we are investigating high performance computational infrastructures to efficiently process these large images. The current systems developed in our Clinical Image Analysis (CIALAB) have provided promising results - both in terms of accuracy and also computational efficiency.

Location: Wake Forest campus

Steven Poelzing

Steven PoelzingMy laboratory focuses on the causes of sudden cardiac death caused by ventricular arrhythmias. We are interested in the mechanisms that can mask and unmask genetically inherited diseases to understand the proverbial final insult that leads to sudden death. Recently, we are investigating the a new form of cell-to-cell communication called ephaptic coupling, and we are trying to understand how disrupting this form of electrical communication leads to electrical conduction failure and arrhythmias. We have discovered that sodium and potassium channel localization in specialized sarcolemmal nano-domains next to the gap junction plaque, termed the perinexus, could mediate electrical transmission from cell to cell in a manner that is orders-of-magnitude faster than gap-junction coupling.

Location: Virginia Tech campus

Elaheh Rahbar

Ellie RahbarI am a translational biomedical engineer whose research focus is on studying the physiologic response to traumatic injuries. Specifically, my lab focuses on studying the pathophysiology of hemorrhagic shock, traumatic brain injury and resuscitation. This includes intense investigation of blood, saliva and urine-based biomarkers to help guide therapy to those with critical injuries and also developing targeted treatments for various injury types.

Location: Wake Forest campus

Alexandrina Untaroiu

Alexandrina UntaroiuFor paediatric population and children with single functional ventricle, Fontan operation helps to reroute the deoxygenated blood to the lungs. However, the non-physiologic flow patterns created by the Fontan procedure lead to an increase in chances of platelet deposition and pressure loss which calls for heart transplantation to prevent early and late stage pathophysiology. The Turbomachinery Lab is focused on developing a TCPC connector to reduce the pressure and energy loss and thereby unload the single functional ventricle to ensure longer survival period. A dual propeller micro-pump is developed in conjunction with the TCPC connector for augmenting the systemic pressure and thereby regaining the normal circulatory physiology in Fontan patients.

Location: Virginia Tech campus



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