Computational modeling has critically advanced our understanding of growth and remodeling of engineered cardiovascular tissues.
Sandra Loerakker is an assistant professor at the TU/e department of Biomedical Engineering (research group Soft Tissue Engineering and Mechanobiology). Her expertise is in modeling the mechanobiology of native and engineered tissues using integrated computational and experimental methods. The ultimate goal of her research is to obtain a fundamental understanding of the biological mechanisms responsible for soft tissue development, homeostasis, and disease, and to translate those findings into novel therapies in the field of regenerative medicine. She primarily focuses on understanding how mechanical factors drive soft tissue growth and remodeling at different spatial and temporal scales. Examples of her research include the computational analysis of growth and remodeling of native cardiovascular tissues; the analysis and prediction of in vivo remodeling of engineered cardiovascular tissues; systematic investigations of the potential impact of implant design on the remodeling of engineered tissues; the establishment of in vitro platforms to experimentally analyze soft tissue growth and remodeling; and the development of computational models to understand and predict the interplay between mechanics and cell-cell signaling in growth and remodeling.
Sandra Loerakker was trained in Biomedical Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) where she obtained both her BSc and MSc degrees cum laude. Her MSc project concerned the development of a computational model to analyze flow fields in a failing heart supported by a ventricular assist device. In 2007, she started her PhD research on the etiology and early detection of deep pressure ulcers in skeletal muscle, using a combination of computational and experimental methods. She performed part of this research at Northwestern University (USA) and in collaboration with the University of Alberta (Canada). After defending her PhD thesis at TU/e in 2011, she continued as a postdoctoral researcher in heart valve biomechanics and mechanobiology. In 2015, she was appointed as assistant professor in Modeling in Mechanobiology at the TU/e department of Biomedical Engineering, focusing on understanding the mechanobiology of native and engineered tissues using integrated computational and experimental methods. From May 2016 – April 2017, supported by a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship, she was a visiting assistant professor at Stanford University (USA). In 2018, she received an ERC Starting Grant to explore the interplay between mechanics and cell-cell signaling in the context of cardiovascular regeneration.
Vimentin regulates Notch signaling strength and arterial remodeling in response to hemodynamic stressScientific Reports (2019)
Biomechanics and modeling of tissue-engineered heart valvesAdvances in heart valve biomechanics (2019)
Increased cell traction-induced prestress in dynamically cultured microtissuesFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology (2019)
A computational model to predict cell traction-mediated prestretch in the mitral valveComputer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering (2019)
Modelling the combined effects of collagen and cyclic strain on cellular orientation in collagenous tissuesScientific Reports (2018)