Brown University School of Engineering

Engineering Seminar: Biomedical Engineering

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Thursday, October 05, 2017 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Manu O. Platt, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, will be presenting a talk: "Hemodynamics, Large Artery Remodeling, and Pediatric Strokes in Sickle Cell Disease". Abstract: Sickled red blood cells were first viewed under a microscope in 1910, more than a hundred years ago, but there are still limited treatment options for this genetic disease hat affects 1 in 400 African-Americans in the United States, and millions globally. Of children born with sickle cell disease, 11% will have a major stroke by age 16, and 30-35% will have a silent stroke impairing cognitive abilities; many will experience significantly reduced life expectancy. Mechanisms behind this accelerated arterial remodeling and lesion formation in the cerebral arteries are not clear. We will discuss the roles of the chronic inflammation caused by damage due to the stiff, sickled red blood cells and the disturbed blood flow caused by the stiff, dense sickle red blood cells that provide unique etiologies specific to sickle cell disease. Biomedical engineers consider the biochemical and the biomechanical stimuli that drive cell behavior and these will be discussed with novel mechanisms and pharmaceutical targets we have identified to prevent children with this genetic mutation from suffering such early cerebrovascular complications. We will specifically discuss cysteine cathepsins, a class of potent proteases that can degrade elastin in the artery wall when overexpressed in disease states that are also regulated by both biochemical and biomechanical stimuli, and may be novel pharmaceutical targets to prevent pathological remodeling that puts people with sickle cell disease at risk.