Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Woodruff School Graduate Women (WSGW) Tech Talks


Modeling the Mechanics of Chronic Lung Disease


Ms. Mona Eskandari


Stanford University


Friday, January 29, 2016 at 11:00:00 AM


MRDC Building, Room 4211


Allison Mahvi


Current diagnosis of asthmatic and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients continues to consist of trial and error methods. Despite pulmonary disease affecting more than a quarter of the population and ranking as a top leading cause of death, clinical approaches demonstrate the ongoing lack of understanding in the fundamental physiology and governing mechanics of airway wall remodeling due to chronic endurance of lung disease. Two mechanisms commonly describe the pathophysiology of pulmonary disease: mucosal growth and smooth muscle contraction initiate an inward instability of the airway wall, triggering folding of the mucosal layer and progressive airflow obstruction. Since the degree of obstruction is closely correlated with the number of folds, mucosal folding has been extensively studied in idealized circular cross sections. However, airflow obstruction has never been studied in real airway geometries; the behavior of imperfect, non-cylindrical, continuously branching airways remains unknown. In this TECH talk, we employ the nonlinear field theories of mechanics supplemented by the theory of finite growth and perform finite element analysis of patient-specific airway segments created from magnetic resonance images to understand airway remodeling and obstruction. While patient-specific modeling of the lung has gained increasing interest in the fluid mechanics community, the solid mechanics of the pulmonary system are understudied and insufficiently characterized. Our model is the first to computationally explore airway mechanics in realistic patient-specific geometries, before and beyond the onset of airway occlusion. This study helps explain the pathophysiology of airway obstruction in chronic lung disease and holds promise to improve the diagnostics and treatment of asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and respiratory failure.


Mona Eskandari is a Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in 2011 and her master's degree from Stanford University with an emphasis in computational mechanics and biomechanics in 2013. She is a recipient of the Robert Nugent Leadership Medal, and is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow (NSF-GRFP), a Stanford Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow (SGF), and a Diversifying Academia Recruiting Excellence Fellow (DARE). Eskandari is also the Early Engineering Educator Awardee from the American Society for Engineering Education. Her research interests combine principles of engineering and medicine, using finite element and continuum mechanics to computationally model the mechanisms responsible for airway obstruction and difficulty breathing. Eskandari leads I-Cubed: Inspectors, Inquirers, Inventors!, a non-profit startup summer camp for under-represented students to gain exposure to STEM. Her dedication to educating the next generation of engineers spans from K-12 to college-level.


Refreshments will be served.