Bioengineering Seminar Series

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"Microstructural Mechanical Models of Native and Model Tissues, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept a Life of Stress and Failure"

Victor Barocas, Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Radiology
College of Science and Engineering
Northwestern University

It is readily recognized that the mechanical behavior of a soft tissue or a soft-tissue analog must be determined by its structure and composition, but relating the microscopic characteristics of the tissue to its macroscopic properties is by no means trivial, requiring that the tools of materials science be brought to bear on biological materials as they have been for synthetic materials. The fundamental challenge is different for the biological materials scientist. In the case of the synthetic material, one has a fair degree of control over the microscopic scale and hopes to achieve a set ofmacroscopic properties through appropriate manipulations (e.g., changing the composition). For the tissue, however, we have little if any control over the microstructure and instead hope to understand how that structure forms and varies, and how such variations lead to function or dysfunction of the tissue. In our group, we use a multiscale modeling framework in conjunction with characterization experiments that interrogate both the structure and the macro-scale properties of a tissue, with application to tissues of cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system. Of particular interest of late has been the problem of predicting tissue failure, and our experiences attempting to predict failure of aortic wall under a wide range of loading configurations will be presented and discussed, showing experimental results and assessing the performance of a multiscale model of tissue mechanics.

The Bioengineering Seminar Series is co-hosted by the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, and the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.


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