SimVascular User Profile: Jay Humphrey, PhD

Jay Humphrey at Texas A&M collaborates with Simbios on a fluid/solid/growth model of the cardiovascular system.



A new model of arteries that simultaneously simulates fluid, solid, and growth mechanics could eventually help prevent or treat the rupture of aneurysms. “Our goal is to predict natural disease progression and ultimately how a particular lesion or artery will respond to a clinical intervention that changes the mechanical loading,” says Jay Humphrey, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering at Texas A&M University.


To create the model, Humphrey obtained a collaborating R01 grant from NIH to work with the Stanford team of Charles Taylor, PhD, and Chris Zarins, MD, that developed SimVascular. “We can’t just look at the fluid mechanics (which is what has been done traditionally), the solid mechanics (done by some), or the growth mechanics (done by few), we have to look at these factors together,” Humphrey says. SimVascular takes care of the fluid part. Gerhard Holzapfel, PhD, at Graz University of Technology and David Vorp, PhD, at the University of Pittsburgh, handle the solid part. Humphrey and his team work on the growth part.


SimVascular takes information from medical images of patients’ aneurysms and translates it into model inputs including system geometry, local pressures, and local flows. Then Humphrey’s code predicts how the vessel will respond to these pressures and flows over days or weeks. In turn, SimVascular predicts changes in fluid dynamics based on that growth. “And we’d do that iteratively until you predict that this vessel is likely to rupture or that it may stabilize and just need to be monitored for an extended period,” Humphrey says.


The fluid/solid part of the model is nearly finished, and the collaborators are working on implementing the growth part. Eventually, the entire package will be widely distributed just as SimVascular has been, Humphrey says.

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