University of Utah mechanical engineering assistant professor Amirhossein Arzani and Dr. Jingjie Hu at North Carolina State University have received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Trailblazer Award in a multi-PI proposal. The project is focused on an integrated experimental and computation approach for accurate patient-specific vascular embolization. The grant is for $581k over three years. The Trailblazer Awards program is a prestigious opportunity for new and early-stage faculty to pursue research programs that “integrate engineering and the physical sciences with the life and/or biomedical sciences.”

Transcatheter embolization is a common procedure for treating diseased or injured tissue by occluding blood vessels, often with the targeted delivery of microspheres. This approach is minimally invasive, however clinicians don’t have technology for estimating the trajectory of emboli, which leads to significant uncertainty in the treatment.

“We are working to develop, for the first time, a two-way interactive biomaterial-computation platform,” said Arzani. “It will 1) offer rational design of multifunctional microspheres, 2) accurately guide the transcatheter location for microsphere deployment, and 3) predict microsphere in vivo trajectory and their aggregation in the vasculature to maximize embolic success for personalized therapies.”

Arzani and Hu’s computational/experimental approach has the potential to lead to innovative technology that could be used for improved targeted drug delivery, as well as the treatment of diverse vascular conditions and cancers.

Arzani has been with the University of Utah since 2022. He earned his doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from University of California, Berkeley. You can learn more about his research at the Computational Biomechanics Group website.