Manuel Rausch Receives American Heart Association Career Development Award

August 20, 2019

Manuel Rausch, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics and biomedical engineering, was selected by the American Heart Association (AHA) to receive a 2018 Career Development Award. According to the AHA, the award provides three years of funding and supports “highly promising healthcare and academic professionals” in their early professional years, with the purpose of assisting them with developing research skills that could lead to retaining a high-quality career position.

Rausch was selected for his project, “Toward Optimal Tricuspid Annuloplasty: Combining a Beating Human Heart Model, Tissue Characterization, and Simulation.” 1.6 million Americans suffer from the medical condition functional tricuspid regurgitation, a condition that causes one of the four valves (the tricuspid) in the human heart to leak. Currently, surgeons use an implant device, or annuloplasty device, to address this issue. However, the surgery does not have a high success rate, which could be due to the device not yet being optimally designed.

Rausch’s project aims to develop a design for an optimized annuloplasty device to improve surgery outcomes for a leaky tricuspid valve. His group’s strategies for attempting this problem includes making use of three different engineering techniques—taking measurements of a beating heart, conducting benchtop tests, and developing computer simulations.

Once the design of the device has been fully optimized, Rausch and his team will use 3D printing to create the first prototype of their new device. The newly designed device will be used in future studies to verify that it will improve surgical outcomes, improving the quality of life for patients who suffer from functional tricuspid regurgitation.

For more information on Rausch’s research, visit the Soft Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory website.