There are relatively few scientists with engineering backgrounds working in medical research. I realized I could apply nonmedical expertise to the field of medicine while pursuing my PhD in Aerospace Engineering. That’s when I first applied computational fluid dynamics (CFD) algorithms to model flow patterns in upper respiratory airways.
This milestone project made me appreciate the potential for interdisciplinary work and the opportunities to understand physiology better, while creating innovative bedside applications that improve clinical outcomes. Developing novel models representing the diversity of diseases and patients can be as challenging as it is interesting. But when these "out-of-the-box" models demonstrate the potential to improve clinical outcomes, it is deeply rewarding.
Today, my research interests include biofluid mechanics, medical imaging, software development, artificial intelligence and personalized medicine. I aim to create and apply novel methodologies and applications to pulmonary and cardiovascular medicine. For example, I developed a "virtual surgery" methodology to help surgeons evaluate upper airway interventions in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients prior to their procedures. We’re further refining this methodology with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense. In another study, we are using CT-derived measures of pulmonary vessels and advanced imaging algorithms to examine the loss of small vessels as a feature of early cystic fibrosis lung disease. This three-year study is funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Since joining Cincinnati Children’s in 2015, I’ve used the engineering disciplines of image analysis, fluid mechanics, modeling and simulations to help improve patient care. My goal is to create noninvasive tools that can diagnose pulmonary and cardiovascular disease, predict disease progression and evaluate current or emerging interventions.
My lab’s ongoing projects include:
- Developing computational modeling and simulation of upper airway flow in OSA
- Improving our virtual surgery evaluation platform for airway interventions in OSA
- Performing pulmonary structure (morphological) analysis and function (hemodynamics) analysis using scans from patients with cystic fibrosis, bronchopulmonary dysplasia and interstitial lung disease
I’ve received several honors and awards for my research, including:
- Young Investigator Award at the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia and the American Academy of Pediatrics (SPA-AAP) annual meeting (2019)
- Best Presentation award at the 40th annual Dayton-Cincinnati Aerospace Sciences Symposium (2015)
- Blue Ribbon at the Triological Society’s annual meeting poster competition (2015)
- First prize in a scientific poster competition at the Ohio Valley Affiliates of Life Sciences (OVALS) conference (2014)
When I am not working on my research, I like to spend time with my family. I also enjoy yoga, long walks, cycling and reading.