May 27, 2020

Manuel Rausch, an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, was selected to receive a 2020 W. A. “Tex” Moncrief Grand Challenge Award for his proposal titled “A Machine-Learning Based Training Tool for Tricuspid Valve Repair: A Prototype.”

Rausch says the objective of this research is to develop a prototype learning tool that incorporates the complexities of a human tricuspid valve and provides in-depth insight into the effects of repair and device implantation on valve function. To meet this objective, Rausch plans to develop a machine-learning based surrogate model of a human tricuspid valve that has been trained via high-fidelity finite element simulations.

The educational modeling tool will have the ability to visualize the kinematics (i.e., competence) of the valve at minimal computational cost in comparison to a full simulation, and will allow students to change key valve parameters and learn their effect on valve function nearly instantaneously. The prototype will be a showcase for the potential of machine-learning based virtual training tools, and Rausch says it holds the promise of aiding clinical training as well as reducing training-related disease and deaths.

Rausch joined the Cockrell School of Engineering in 2017 and holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. His research interests include soft tissue biomechanics, nonlinear continuum mechanics, numerical modeling, and material characterization and constitutive modeling. He uses experimental as well as computational tools to characterize and understand the mechanical behavior of biological soft tissues such as myocardium, vascular soft tissue, heart valve tissue, and skin to improve diagnostic and therapeutic methods and medical device design.

The Oden Institute of Computational Engineering and Sciences W. A. "Tex" Moncrief Grand Challenge Awards are awarded to faculty based on their highly compelling research proposals related to the Grand Challenges  in computational engineering and sciences that affect the competitiveness and international standing of the nation.

Learn more about Rausch’s research on his website.