Maïté Pétré
PhD student
Ir. in chemistry and materials science, at UCL, 2020

Main project: Combining contrast-enhanced microCT imaging and mechanical testing to enhance the biofidelity of computational models of healthy and diseased vascular tissues
Funding: KU Leuven
Supervisor(s): Greet Kerckhofs

Cardiovascular diseases are still the leading cause of death worldwide. Treatment options such as intravascular stent deposition or balloon angioplasty often tend to fail. The hypothesis is that this failure is partly due the application of too large mechanical forces on the vascular tissue during treatment. However, the exact mechanisms are not yet fully understood. To better understand these mechanisms and to evaluate potential new treatment techniques, biomechanical characterization of vascular tissue could provide a solution. The goal of this thesis is, therefore, two-fold. The first aim is to create a database of microstructural and mechanical properties of healthy and diseased vascular tissues. For this, I will optimize contrast-enhanced 3D microfocus X-ray computed tomography (CECT) for vascular tissues. I will also develop, validate and apply a novel methodology for dynamic testing of vascular tissues, named 4D CE-CT. 4D CE-CT combines in-situ mechanical testing of soft tissues with CE-CT imaging. The second objective is to create a more comprehensive computational model to evaluate and predict the outcome of a medical treatment. For this, we will use the microstructural information provided by CE-CT of native and diseased vascular tissues. The results of the 4D CE-CT imaging will serve as validation of the model. The combined imaging and modelling approach should improve the insights into the failure mechanisms of some current treatments of cardiovascular diseases.

IMMC main research direction(s):
Biomedical engineering

contrast-enhanced computed tomography

Research group(s): MEED
Collaborations: Nele Famaey, Prof. at KU Leuven, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Mechanics