College of Science & Engineering
The Pregnancy Research and Engineering Group focuses on understanding how soft tissues grow, remodel, and adapt during pregnancy. Specifically, they are interested in how hormonal and mechanical signaling interact to drive this critical process to support a healthy pregnancy. The researchers use a combination of experimental and computational approaches from biomechanics and computational systems biology to understand these interactions.
The current focus is on the growth and remodeling of the pregnant patient's heart and uterus. The researchers aim to help reduce the rates of heart problems during pregnancy and preterm birth by first understanding pregnancy, then applying this knowledge to develop and guide new therapies to diagnose and treat pregnancy-related complications.
The group develops computational models to understand this process, including lumped parameter circuit models of the circulation, and finite element models of heart and uterine growth during pregnancy. They also conduct and simulate mechanical test experiments to understand how material properties of tissues evolve during pregnancy, and use computational systems biology approaches to simulate intracellular signaling pathways that lead to cell-level growth in the heart and uterus.