|Title||The impact of micro-scale structural heterogeneities in gas exchange organs on whole organ function|
|Presenter||Alys Rachel Clark (The University of Auckland)|
|Author(s)||Alys Rachel Clark|
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.
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