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04-05-2012

CUNY Distinguished Professor Sheldon Weinbaum to Speak at Clarkson University About Largest Cause of Cardiovascular Death in U.S.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/sweinbaum.jpg .]

Clarkson University’s New Horizons in Engineering Distinguished Lectureship Series has announced that City University of New York Distinguished Professor of Biomedical & Mechanical Engineering Emeritus Sheldon Weinbaum will speak next week about an engineering approach to vulnerable plaque rupture, the largest cause of cardiovascular death in the United States.

City University of New York Distinguished Professor of Biomedical & Mechanical Engineering Emeritus Sheldon WeinbaumWeinbaum will speak on Friday, April 13, at 4 p.m. in Clarkson’s Bertrand H. Snell Hall Room 213. Refreshments will precede the lecture at 3:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public

The New Horizons in Engineering Distinguished Lectureship Series is dedicated to improving the understanding of important issues facing engineering and society in the 21st century.

Weinbaum is one of only eight living individuals elected to all three U.S. National Academies (the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine) and is the only engineer to have received a Guggenheim Fellowship in cell and molecular biology. 

He received his Ph.D. in engineering in 1963 from Harvard University and is widely recognized for contributions to re-entry aerodynamics and fluid mechanics, with nearly 40 published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics.

In the 1970s he shifted his studies to transport and cellular level biomechanical phenomena in the human body. He is known for the Weinbaum-Jij equation for microvascular heat transfer, the discovery of the endothelial pore for the entry of LDL cholesterol, fluid flow and mechanotransduction in bone, endothelial glycocalyx in mechanotransduction and microvascular fluid exchange, and the role of brush border microvilli in glomerulo-tubular balance.

Recently Weinbaum proposed a new concept for an airborne jet train that flies on a soft porous track within centimeters of the earth’s surface at speeds approaching jet aircraft, with one-fifth of the fuel consumption.

About the lecture

Approximately 60 percent of all cardiovascular deaths in the U.S. are caused by the sudden rupture of a fibrous cap that covers a lipid pool or necrotic core in coronary arteries. Why some caps rupture and others do not is probably the single most important unanswered question in treating acute coronary artery disease.

The two criteria that have been widely used are the thickness of the cap and the size of the necrotic core. Engineers have developed sophisticated 3D FEM and FSI numerical models to predict the tissue stresses when the arteries are pressurized, but the actual triggering mechanism remains a mystery.

Clinicians for several decades have attributed rupture to calcification, and billions of dollars have been spent visualizing larger calcifications that are easily visible using IVUS, OCT AND MRI.

The numerical models predict that these large calcifications actually stabilize a lesion and, furthermore, the fibrous cap often ruptures in its center rather than the shoulders of the lesion where the tissue stresses are greatest.

In his presentation, Weinbaum will propose a surprising explanation to these paradoxes, namely that rupture is caused by very small (< 50 µm) microcalcifications (µCalcs) in the fibrous cap proper. 

Read more about the in the New Horizons in Engineering Distinguished Lectureship Series at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/2010/news-release_2010-08-20-3.html .

For more information, please contact Professor Liya Regel, New Horizons in Engineering founder and chair, at lregel@clarkson.edu .

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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