Andres Caballero Wins Georgia Tech’s Sigma Xi Best Ph.D. Thesis Award

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Andres Caballero, postdoctoral fellow, won the 2020 Sigma Xi Best Ph.D. Thesis Award from Georgia Tech. Caballero earned his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Georgia Tech and works as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Wei Sun, associate professor, in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering.


Caballero won for his Ph.D. thesis: “Computational Modeling of Left Ventricle-Valve Dynamics using a Fluid-Structure Interaction Framework.”


Past work by Caballero includes developing and validating the first fully-coupled fluid-structure interaction (FSI) modeling framework that describes the 3D blood flow dynamics and the heart valves structural response of the human heart throughout the cardiac cycle. His patient-specific computer tool incorporated imaged-based cardiac wall motion, anatomically accurate valve geometries, nonlinear hyper elastic constitutive models, and human age- and gender-matched material properties.


Most of the previous patient-specific computer models either solved the fluid or structural physics alone, were limited to idealized or 2D geometries, adopted linear elastic material models, focused on a short time frame of the cardiac cycle, or did not incorporate all cardiac structures. Overall, previously developed computer technologies only provided an incomplete picture of the heart mechanical environment, and did not yield detailed data on the loads applied to the heart valves that arise from the coupled blood and tissue interactions.


Caballero tackled this problem during his doctoral studies by developing a novel computer modeling tool that allows to accurately simulate the FSI between the heart structures and the blood under numerous physiologic, diseased and post-operative conditions. From a clinical perspective, such capability, not previously available, is an invaluable tool to better understand each patient’s unique cardiac anatomy and blood flow without doing invasive clinical measurements or idealized bench experiments, thus eventually speeding the process of personalizing treatment decisions.


His overall research work offers potential to inform the therapeutic decision-making process, support better device design, as well as provides insight into patient-specific surgical planning tools, ultimately supporting improved clinical outcomes.



Media Contact:
Walter Rich
Communications Manager
Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Walter Rich
  • Created:04/13/2020
  • Modified By:Walter Rich
  • Modified:04/13/2020