[CANCELLED] Modelling complex vascular anatomies in exchange organs to predict heterogeneity in response to disease

Alys Clark (The University of Auckland)

Thursday 19th March, 2020 14:00-15:00 Maths 311B


Before we are born we get oxygen from our mother’s blood through the placenta, and after birth the lungs take over the placenta’s role exchanging oxygen from the air. The lungs and placenta have evolved complex branching structures to accommodate a large exchange surface in an as small as possible volume, and have particularly complex structures at the micro-scale. When disease occurs, it often arises primarily at the micro-scale, and can have a significant impact on whole organ function before it can be observed in clinical imaging. Clinically observing these disease processes in the early stages, before significant function has been lost is difficult, as most clinical assessments are made at the whole organ scale. These measurements may hold information on early stage (micro-scale) pathologies, but interpreting this data to predict current (and future) patient status can be difficult.

Here I present multi-scale computational models of lung and placenta, which aim to capture vascular structural perturbations typical of disease. These models take as inputs vascular anatomy derived from imaging, and subsequently simulate haemodynamic and exchange function to allow prediction of the key anatomical perturbations that may lead to poor outcomes in vascular pathologies. I will discuss some of the successes of this multi-scale approach in providing insight into pathology, introduce some challenges that we face in obtaining and interpreting data from delicate and highly deformable tissue, and in testing and validating models in these organs.

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