Bioengineering: Modelling Arterial Blood Flow in the Brain
The Circle of Willis is a ring-like arterial structure located in the base of the brain, and distributes oxygenated blood, to the cerebral arteries. The circle is of particular importance because it allows for blood to be re-routed through the arteries in order to maintain oxygen supply to all of the cerebral territories. In addition the model contains complex cellular chemistry which simulates the dilation/contraction of the cerebral arterial tree (autoregulation).
An advanced 3D computer model has been developed from Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) data and uses a technique known as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to model the blood flow throughout the circle of Willis and throughout the cerebro-vasculature. The research involves the use of the UC supercomputer which includes one only two Blue Genes in the southern hemisphere. See (www.ucsc.canterbury.ac.nz)
The simulation results give the response of the vasculature to different pathological conditions, including the combined effects variations in cerebral-vasculature with atherosclerotic plaque build-up. The long term goal of the project involves the development of a clinical diagnostic tool for automatically recreating a 3D model of an individual’s cerebral vasculature, from an MRI scan and using CFD to predict the likelihood of stroke in the short term, or the risk associated with various surgical procedures such as carotid endarterectomy.
Only funded via successful application to University of Canterbury Doctoral Scholarship.