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Kai Cao awarded a two-year predoctoral research fellowship by the American Heart Association (AHA)

Nancy Davis • DATE: December 11, 2013

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Kai Cao awarded a two-year predoctoral research fellowship by the American Heart Association (AHA)

Kai Cao

Kai Cao, a graduate student in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded a two-year predoctoral research fellowship by the American Heart Association (AHA) for his project on “Computational and in vitro hemodynamic characterizations of tricuspid and bicuspid aortic valve ascending aortas”. This award helps students initiate careers in cardiovascular and stroke research by providing research assistance and training. Cao is one of 30 candidates among 134 applicants awarded by the AHA Midwest Affiliate.

Cao completed his undergraduate education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China where he graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Mechanics. He joined the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program at the University of Notre Dame in August 2011 and worked in the Multi-Scale Cardiovascular Bioengineering Laboratory directed by Dr. Philippe Sucosky since then.

Cao’s research interest is in the characterization of the flow through the aortic valve and the ascending aorta. Specifically, he intends to examine the impact of congenital valvular anatomical defects on ascending aorta hemodynamics in order to elucidate potential cause-and-effect relationships between abnormal valvular anatomies and aortic dilation. Cao’s AHA research fellowship will consist of the design and validation of a fluid-structure interaction model to predict the fluid forces generated downstream of tricuspid and bicuspid aortic valves on the aortic wall. This work will provide new insights into the potential impact of valvular defects on aortopathies and will guide the design of more effective and robust practice guidelines for the management of aortic dilation.

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association (AHA) is a non-profit organization in the United States that fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke. AHA public health education and science-based treatment guidelines provide a foundation for "Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke" by improving the lives of all Americans, ensuring the best treatment for every patient and improving the health of all communities.

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