Midwest Mechanics Seminar Series: ‘Multi-Physics Modeling of Flow and Cardiac Function in Pediatric Cardiology,’ Featuring Alison Marsden

Alison MarsdenThe Department of Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering present the Midwest Mechanics Seminar Series featuring guest speaker Alison Marsden, the Douglass M. and Nola Leishman Professor of Cardiovascular Disease in the Departments of Pediatrics, Bioengineering, and Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, who will give a presentation on “Multi-Physics Modeling of Flow and Cardiac Function in Pediatric Cardiology.” This event is open to the public and will take place on Wednesday, November 8, from 12:45–1:45 p.m. in room 111 of the Pritzker Science Center.


Congenital heart disease affects one in 100 infants and is the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States. Among the most severe forms of congenital heart disease is single ventricle physiology, in which the heart develops with only one functional pumping chamber. These patients typically undergo three open chest surgeries, culminating in the Fontan procedure at three years of age. Prior work has extensively explored the use of multiscale models, combining hemodynamics with lumped parameter models of single ventricle physiology to assess surgical methods for all three stages of single ventricle palliation. Here, we present our recent work, which extends traditional models of Fontan hemodynamics to include multiple physical processes and cardiac function. We will discuss our recent progress toward: 1) growth and remodeling of tissue engineered vascular grafts in the Fontan circulation, including a finite element framework for fluid solid growth simulations; and 2) model-driven design of a bio printed pulsatile conduit to provide a power source for Fontan physiology. Recent methodological advances for generation of vascular networks using optimization will also be described. Finally, we discuss progress and challenges of developing whole heart models incorporating machine learning for image segmentation, fluid mechanics, active contraction, electrophysiology and valves. We will describe open-source software and data resources available via the SimVascular project and the Vascular Model Repository.


Alison Marsden is the Douglass M. and Nola Leishman Professor of Cardiovascular Disease in the Departments of Pediatrics, Bioengineering, and, by courtesy, Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. She is a member of the Institute for Mathematical and Computational Engineering. From 2007–2015 she was a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at University of California Sand Diego. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree in mechanical engineering from Princeton University in 1998, and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford in 2005. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University in Bioengineering from 2005–2007. She was the recipient of a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface in 2007, and a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2011. She was elected fellow of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in 2018, the American Physical Society’s (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics in 2020, and Biomedical Engineering Society in 2021. She is the 2023 recipient of the Van C. Mow medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Bioengineering Division. She has published over 160 journal articles and holds leadership roles in the ASME and APS scientific societies. Her research focuses on the development of numerical methods for cardiovascular biomechanics and application of engineering methods to impact patient care in cardiovascular surgery and congenital heart disease.