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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 13, 2003

UI Engineer Receives $1.4 Million NIH Grant For Heart Valve Simulation

K.B. Chandran, professor and chair of biomedical engineering in the University of Iowa College of Engineering and a senior research engineer in IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering, and three colleagues have received a 4-year, $1.4 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a computer simulation of biological prosthetic valve function that may help engineers and physicians to improve the durability of prosthetic heart valves.

Chandran, project principal investigator, is joined by co-principal investigators H.S. Udaykumar and Jia Lu, assistant professors in the UI department of mechanical and industrial engineering, and Michael Sacks, associate professor in the University of Pittsburgh department of bioengineering.

The interdisciplinary project, begun in August 2003 and titled "Fluid-Structure Simulation for Prosthetic Heart Valves," involves the development of a simulation tool to identify regions of high stress on the heart valve leaflet as it opens and closes. Currently, biological tissue valves -- often harvested from pigs -- last about 10 to 12 years, at which time the patient must undergo another valve replacement surgery. Researchers will use the information to improve their understanding of the relationship between valve stress and tissue degradation, or structural failure, and to reduce stress in implanted valves.

"These studies are aimed at improving the design of biological heart valves in order to increase their durability when implanted," Chandran says. His current research interests include hemodynamics, cardiac mechanics and fluid dynamics in curved tubes, as well as vascular prosthesis and artificial heart valve dynamics.

Chandran's Cardiovascular Biomechanics Laboratory in the College of Engineering conducts experimental research in hemodynamics and solid mechanics of cardiovascular structure, with research emphasis on evaluation of cardiovascular implants and the study of mechanics of circulation.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,