MMAE Grad Student Wins MAGS Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award

MMAE graduate student Amirhossein Arzani recently won the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award.

This award recognizes and rewards distinguished scholarship and research at the master’s level. To be considered, a thesis must contain original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to the discipline.

Arzani won a $750 cash prize and traveled to present his work at the MAGS Annual Meeting in Minneapolis in early April.

“It was such an honor to win the MAGS Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award,” said Arzani. “This would have never been accomplished if it wasn’t for all of the support of my (thesis) advisor Dr. Shawn Shadden.”

Arzani’s thesis is entitled “Validation and Characterization of Turbulence in an Aortic Coarctation.”

Image-based computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling has gained dramatic attention in the evaluation of various cardiovascular diseases, noted Arzani. With this popularity, the need to compare these numerical results to the corresponding experimental data becomes imperative. Thus far, most of the validation studies have used in vitro models.

“Our study was the first in vivo validation study of turbulence intensity in the literature,” said Arzani. “Phase-Contrast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (PCMRI) was used to obtain turbulence intensity in a patient with aortic coarctation. Image-based CFD was used to solve the flow. And turbulence intensity was computed with different methods (trying to replicate the PCMRI method) and compared to PCMRI, giving very good agreement.”

“Amir’s thesis addressed a problem that was both technically and practically important,” said Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Shawn Shadden. “It required him to develop expertise in computational blood-flow modeling, as well as intimate knowledge of PCMRI; both are challenging topics to master. It was published in the prestigious Annals of Biomedical Engineering, and Amir was selected to present his finding to the FDA. These achievements substantiate the importance of this work to the field.”