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Solids Seminar
Skin mechanics and mechanobiology across scales
Adrian Buganza
Assistant Professor
Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University
Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 1:00 pm
WRW 102

Skin is our indispensable barrier against outside harms while at the same time allowing us to move and interact with the world and with others. However, the mechanical integrity of this tissue can be compromised, for example in skin cancer, trauma, or due to surgical procedures in general. This talk will present recent advances in skin biomechanics with emphasis on two applications: i) skin growth in tissue expansion, ii) scar progression and wound complications following reconstructive surgery. Tissue expansion (TE) is a technique that leverages the unique ability of living systems to adapt to mechanical loads. Despite being the most common treatment for breast reconstruction after mastectomy, skin adaptation to mechanical cues remains poorly understood and TE protocols continue to cause complications and suboptimal outcomes. A computational model of skin growth based on a continuum mechanics framework and a custom finite element implementation is presented. Predictions of the computational model have been verified with our innovative animal model of TE. In the second part of the talk, the application of finite element tools to optimize reconstructive procedures and anticipate wound complications in patient-specific cases are explored. Excessive mechanical stress has been indisputably linked to wound complications such as hypertrophic scarring. Yet, surgeons currently lack tools to predict stress contours from reconstructive procedures. Key contributions of the work presented are the acquisition of individualized geometries with multi-view stereo algorithms, and the propagation of material behavior uncertainty through nonlinear finite element models. Finally, a systems mechanobiology model of wound healing is presented, which allows to couple the mechanical environment with the progression of a scar.

Prof. Buganza Tepole earned a PhD from Stanford University in 2015. After spending one year as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, he joined the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University as an Assistant Professor in August of 2016. Dr. Buganza Tepole’s group focuses on understanding how the mechanical function of living systems is controlled across scales, from modeling dynamics of regulatory networks, to the tissue level mechanical adaptation. His group develops new mathematical models and numerical methods to capture these multiscale & multifield phenomena, and applies these models to pressing clinical problems in collaboration with clinical experts. In addition to the work presented here on skin growth, reconstructive surgery and wound healing, Prof. Buganza Tepole’s research interests include development of new numerical tools for nonlinear membranes under extreme deformations and pressure ulcer mechanobiology.    

Contact  Dr. Manuel Rausch (650) 283-0262 or manuel.rausch@utexas.edu

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