Towards a digital lung for medical research and applications

Biomedical Engineering (BME 500) Seminar Series - Daniel E. Hurtado, Ph.D.

WHERE: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building, 1500 show on map

WHEN: October 6, 2022 4:30 pm-5:30 pmADD TO CALENDAR

Towards a digital lung for medical research and applications: Biomedical Engineering (BME 500) Seminar Series - Daniel E. Hurtado, Ph.D.

Respiratory infections and chronic diseases have been among the top causes of death worldwide for decades, killing over 8 million people annually. Current diagnostic methods for respiratory diseases result in late diagnosis and high rates of underdiagnosis. Further, the wide variability in the patient response to treatment challenges population-based therapies. Personalized medicine arises as a promising alternative to standard practice, but it relies on expensive laboratory and testing infrastructure not available worldwide. This motivates the creation of computational models of the human lungs for in silico research and applications.

In this talk, I will present our group's efforts to construct computational models of the lung for medical research and applications. I will review how computer simulations of alveolar structures informed by micro-computed tomography can change our current understanding of the forces acting on the lung extracellular matrix (ECM). Further, I will discuss a class of microstructurally informed models for predicting the lung tissue response and how they can capture mechanical changes in lung mechanics triggered by ECM remodeling. Finally, I will show our current work on creating personalized virtual lungs and how we can use them to simulate the response of patients under respiratory failure that are connected to mechanical ventilation.

Daniel E. Hurtado is an associate professor with the School of Engineering at PUC Chile, and a visiting professor at the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science at MIT. He leads the Computational Medicine Group, an interdisciplinary team that focuses on the creation of personalized computational replicas of the human lungs, with applications in the study of mechanical ventilation and early diagnosis of pulmonary diseases. His work also involves the development of wearable respiratory systems to monitor breathing in athletes and hospital patients. 

Prof. Hurtado received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the California Institute of Technology as a Fulbright fellow. His thesis work made him the recipient of the Robert J. Melosh Medal, presented by Duke University. In 2018, the World Economic Forum selected him as one of the 50 most influential young scientists worldwide under 40 years old for his contributions in research and innovation in biomedical engineering. He is also an elected member for the World Council of Biomechanics.