2023 Dr. Kitty Fronek and Dr. Arnost Fronek Lecture - Mechanics of a Broken Heart

Stephanie Lindsey, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Affiliate Professor of Bioengineering

University of California, San Diego

Seminar Information

Seminar Date
October 27, 2023 - 2:00 PM

The FUNG Auditorium - PFBH



Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are among the most severe congenital abnormalities, accounting for over 29 percent of deaths from developmental abnormalities. Of these, approximately 25 percent require palliative surgery in the first year of life.  While the precise origins of CHDs remain unknown, they arise from disturbances in cardiac morphogenesis, a complex interconnected process involving changing hemodynamic forces concomitant with cellular and molecular signaling. Despite advances in surgical and medical management, their potential to restore cardiac function remains compromised, largely due to continued complications from implanted devices. To that end, I explore innovative ways to advance treatment options for patients suffering from CHD, through the identification of new mechanistic insights into the origin of such defects and the optimization of current treatment options. To understand causation, I rely on the chick embryo as a mechanical model of development. Through the use of non-linear optics, I minimally invasively occlude flow inside the cardiac outflow tract and detail resulting structural and hemodynamic changes. I subsequently use numerical simulations to distinguish between the immediate effects of flow redistribution and longer-term compensation mechanisms. Towards optimization, I lay the groundwork for fluid structure growth simulations of tissue engineered vascular grafts in single ventricle physiology patients. 


Speaker Bio

Dr. Stephanie Lindsey is currently an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UC San Diego, where she investigates origins and treatment options for congenital heart disease.  She completed her postdoctoral research with the Cardiovascular Biomechanics Computation Lab at Stanford University and as a Whitaker International Scholar in Montpellier, France. She is an alumna of Washington University in St. Louis and Cornell University. Dr. Lindsey’s research honors include fellowships from the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Whitaker International Foundation as well as career development awards from the American Heart Association and Burroughs Wellcome Fund. She has held international research positions at Inria-Paris, the University of Montpellier and INSERM.