IIT Engineering’s Shawn Shadden Wins Prestigious NSF CAREER Award

Award to Support Research to Better Understand Hemodynamic Processes in Thrombosis

Illinois Institute of Technology is pleased to announce that Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Shawn Shadden has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for 2012.

The CAREER Award, one of the NSF’s most prestigious honors, supports early career-development activities of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through the integration of outstanding research and excellent education.

Shadden was recognized for his proposal “Hemodynamic Processes in Thrombosis.” The five-year, $400,000 CAREER Award will support his groundbreaking research, a goal of which is to clarify the hemodynamic processes underlying the initiation and progression of pathological blood clot formation.

Blood clotting is one of the most important and complex mechanisms in the body. Normal clotting is essential to a human’s health, but pathological clotting, or thrombosis, is the cause of most heart attacks and strokes, and is a primary complication with most cardiovascular surgeries and devices.

Shadden is interested in thrombus formation in the larger vessels since these clots are so dangerous. He is studying how disrupted blood flow can lead to clot formation, and how fluid-structure interactions during thrombus formation provide bio-mechanical regulation of the process.

According to Shadden, local hemodynamics play pivotal roles in regulating thrombus growth and structure. For example, platelet activation and aggregation at stenotic lesions are thought to result from local flow gradients and alterations in transport. However, the underlying mechanisms still have not been properly explored and understood.

Shadden’s award-winning research aims to develop a computational framework to analyze mechanical and advective processes leading to platelet aggregation, particularly at stenoses. He will parallel his computational investigation with in vitro analysis using stenotic flow chambers, which will help guide and validate his numerical findings. This two-pronged approach adds to the novelty and impact of his research within this field. More broadly, Shadden believes that this research is a critical step towards his long-term objective of illuminating the roles of hemodynamics in vascular pathology.

For detailed information on Shadden’s research, visit his website.