SUBJECT: Ph.D. Proposal Presentation
BY: Stephen Schwaner
TIME: Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 1:00 p.m.
PLACE: IBB Building, 1128
TITLE: Finite Element Modeling of Rat Optic Nerve Head Biomechanics
COMMITTEE: Dr. C. Ross Ethier, Chair (BME/Georgia Institute of Technology)
Dr. Andrés, J. García (ME/Georgia Institute of Technology)
Dr. Robert E. Guldberg (ME/Georgia Institute of Technology)
Dr. J. Brandon Dixon (ME/Georgia Institute of Technology)
Dr. Ian A. Sigal (Opthalmology/University of Pittsburgh)


Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness and is characterized by the loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Biomechanical insult, especially occurring in the optic nerve head (ONH), is thought to be a key driver leading to RGC death in glaucoma. However, the link between biomechanics and RGC death is not well understood. The rat has been widely used to study glaucoma, especially RGC pathophysiology. However, rat ONH biomechanics have not been characterized. We plan to characterize rat ONH biomechanics using finite element modeling. We hypothesize that regional patterns of stress and strain in the rat ONH will coincide with regional patterns of biological response seen in rat glaucoma studies conducted by collaborating labs.