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Details of talk

TitleThe impact of micro-scale structural heterogeneities in gas exchange organs on whole organ function
PresenterAlys Rachel Clark (The University of Auckland)
Author(s)Alys Rachel Clark
SessionMathematical Biology
Time14:30:00 2017-09-25

To develop and age healthily we must acquire sufficient oxygen from our
environment to supply our metabolic demands.  Before we are born we get oxygen
from our motherís blood through the placenta, and after birth the lungs take
over the placentaís role exchanging oxygen from the air. The lungs and placenta
have evolved complex branching structures to accommodate a large exchange
surface in an as small as possible volume, and have particularly complex
structures at the micro-scale. When disease occurs, it often arises primarily at
the micro-scale, and can have a significant impact on whole organ function
before it can be observed in clinical imaging. 

Here I present multi-scale computational models of lung and placenta, which aim
to capture micro-structural perturbations typical of early disease. These models
aim to capture micro-scale heterogeneity identified in high resolution micro-CT
scans of tissue samples, and to scale descriptions of this heterogeneity to
predict clinically measurable whole organ indices. I will discuss some of the
successes of this multi-scale approach in providing insight into pathology, and
identification of key micro-structural features that drive gas exchange. I will
also introduce some challenges that we face in obtaining and interpreting data
at the micro-scale from delicate and highly deformable tissue, and capturing
heterogeneity in lumped parameter representations of organ micro-structure.