Awarded in 2017
Home Department: Bioengineering
Faculty Advisors: Alison Marsden (Pediatrics, Bioengineering) and Marlene Rabinovitch (Pediatrics - Cardiology)
Research Title: Computational modeling of pulmonary arterial hypertension to determine abnormal hemodynamic effects on endothelial gene expression
Research Description: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in children can be caused by congenital heart defects or can be idiopathic resulting in abnormal hemodynamics and elevated pressures in the pulmonary arteries (PA). It is unknown how abnormally high shear stress alters endothelial gene regulation which causes exuberant proliferation of smooth muscle like cells and obliteration of the distal pulmonary arteries. Melody’s goal is to use computational modeling to quantify wall shear stress in pediatric PAH and determine the biological response of PA endothelial cells to abnormal shear stress. This response will be studied using RNA-Seq with validation by qPCR, western immunoblot and confocal microscopy. By understanding the hemodynamics and corresponding biological response associated with PAH progression, she hopes to use computational modeling to understand how PAH progresses and identify clinical endpoints for patient stratification.