University of Virginia
Cardia Biomechanics Group
News & Events

News 20182017

August 2018

Arlynn joins the lab!
Arlynn Baker is joining the CBG as a PhD student after receiving her BS in mechanical engineering from Western Carolina University.

July 2018

Aligning Our Expectations
Laura published her paper titled Surgical Reinforcement Alters Collagen Alignment and Turnover in Healing Myocardial Infarcts in the American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology

Dr. Holmes receives the Van C. Mow Medal
Dr. Holmes received a prestigious mid-career award and also gave an associated plenary talk at the 2018 World Congress of Biomechanics in Dublin, Ireland. He received the Mow Medal for demonstrating meritorious contributions to the field of bioengineering through research, education, professional development, leadership in the development of the profession, mentorship to young bioengineers, and with service to the bioengineering community.

World Congress of Biomechanics Winners
Congratulations to Laura and Kellen who were both selected as finalists in the PhD Student Paper Competition at the 2018 World Congress of Biomechanics. Laura received 3rd place in the "Cardiac Imaging and Modeling" session and Kellen received 3rd place in the "Biomechanics at the Cell, Tissue, and Multiscale Level" session.

Becoming a Modeler
Derek traveled to Park City, Utah to participate in the 2018 Image-Based Biomedical Modeling (IBBM) workshop. He became an expert on FEBio and plans to apply mixture theory to cardiac growth & remodeling.

May 2018

A Badger Among Us
Congratulations to Colleen who accepted a new job in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin as an Assistant Professor; she starts next January.

TK Wins Otis and Mary Updike Professional Development Award
TK was selected among his peers in the BME department for this scholarship awarded annually to student exhibiting outstanding scholarship, personal commitment to the field of biomedical engineering, and significant contribution to the academic community.

April 2018

Kellen GapSummit 2018 Conference
Kellen was competitively selected as one of 100 young professionals from over 1000 applicants globally. He traveled to Cambridge University, UKĀ  to meet and learn from CEOs and executives from top biotech companies about the current "gaps" in biotechnology. Kellen also did a business pitch as one of the finalists in the Voices of Tomorrow competition.

March 2018

Engineering School Research Symposium Successes
Congratulations to Laura who was selected as a finalist to represent the BME department with a podium talk at the 2018 University of Virginia Engineering Research Symposium (UVERS). And congratulations to Kellen who won first place representing BME in the poster competition.

Derek Earns NSF GRFP Honorable Mention
Congratulations to Derek who received GRFP honorable mention for his project applying machine learning to predict left ventricular growth and remodeling.

January 2018

Drawing New Boundaries
Kellen Chen published his experimental and modeling paper on the role of boundary conditions in determining cell alignment in response to stretch. This was a collaboration between Kellen's experimental work on cell alignment with modeling developed by the McMeeking (UC Santa Barbara) and Deshpande (Cambridge) groups.

News 2017

August 2017

What Exactly Does Your ECM Know?
Dr. Holmes was one of two investigators nationwide selected for the new AHA-Allen Distinguished Investigators program. A collaboration with Dr. Sarah Ewald in Microbiology and Dr. Zunder in BME, this project will track information flow in the cardiac extracellular matrix during aging and following myocardial infarction.
See more about the project here:

July 2017

Has Cardiac Fibrosis Met its Match?
Dr. Saucerman and Dr. Holmes received a new joint grant from the NIH to study the systems biology of cardiac fibrosis. The project uses signaling network and agent-based models, and includes Dr. Peirce-Cottler from BME as well.

Colleen wins AHA Fellowship
Colleen Witzenburg received a 2-year Postdoctoral Fellowship from the American Heart Association to investigate the factors that drive dilation and heart failure progression following myocardial infarction.

June 2017

Hot But Cool
This month, Dr. Holmes chaired the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference (SB3C2017) in Tucson, Arizona. Nearly 700 people braved the heat to geek out about biomechanics, including Ana, JJ, and Kyoko.

Summer REU
UVA BME's new Multi-Scale Systems Bioengineering REU program brought Johns Hopkins University rising senior Tommy Athey to the lab. He worked with JJ from the CBG to couple an agent-based model of cardiac fibroblasts with the Angela Zeigler's signaling network model.

May 2017

CBG Undergrads are Going Places
Abby Teitgen graduates this month. She won a Whitaker International Fellowship to study in Auckland next year, then will pursue a Ph.D. in Bioengineering at UC San Diego.

April 2017

Virtual CRT and the CBG
The Seraph Foundation is funding the Virtual CRT project, a collaboration with Dr. Kenneth Bilchick in Cardiology to develop fast, user-friendly software to help physicians plan cardiac resynchronization therapy.

January 2017

Welcome Derek
Derek Bivona completed his rotations and joined the CBG. Derek is studying growth and remodeling in both cardiac and skeletal muscle.

News 2016

November 2016

Special Issue on Cardiovascular Biomechanics
Dr. Holmes co-wrote an editorial for a special issue of the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering; the issue highlights young investigators in cardiovascular biomechanics.

October 2016

Colleen's Homecoming
Colleen and Kellen presented talks at BMES in Colleen's home state, Minnesota. Go Gophers! Colleen presented on modeling the compensatory response following myocardial infarction. Kellen presented a comparison of his in vitro results from stretching fibroblasts in collagen gels to a computational model of cell alignment.

June 2016

Road Trip to SB3C
Kellen, Colleen, and T.K. traveled to National Harbor, MD to present at the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference (SB3C2016). T.K. won second place in the Master's Student Paper Competition.

Summer in the CBG
Devrick Thomas, a rising senior at Georgia State University, joined the CBG for the summer through the School of Medicine's Summer Research Internship Program. He is working with Ana Estrada on analyzing the collagen alignment of myocardial infarction scar in sheep.

May 2016

Ana wins AHA Fellowship
Ana Estrada won a 2-year Predoctoral Fellowship from the American Heart Association to study the effect of mechanical reinforcement on cardiac growth post myocardial infarction.

Congratulations Angela and Will
Angela Zeigler from the Saucerman lab and Will Richardson from the CBG published the first large-scale cardiac fibroblast signaling network model in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology.

News 2015

December 2015

JJ Joins the CBG
Jia-Jye Lee completed her PhD with Dr. Kevin Costa at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and joined the CBG in December. She will be our new point person on agent-based scar modeling.

November 2015

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
Three review articles from the CBG were released online this month, including a review on therapeutically modifying infarct mechanics in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology (Clarke, Richardson, Holmes), a review on “Making Better Scar” in terms of both mechanical and electrical properties in Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology (by Dr. Holmes and Dr. Lior Gepstein), and a review on computational modeling of cardiac fibrosis written jointly with the Saucerman lab.

September 2015

New Grant on Multiscale Modeling of Heart Growth
A new U01 Multiscale Modeling grant from the NIH will support a collaboration between the CBG and the CMRG at UC San Diego to study how the heart remodels following infarction and in response to cardiac resynchronization therapy.

August 2015

More Goodbyes
Sam graduated and accepted a job with Ethicon, and Will accepted a faculty job in Bioengineering at Clemson; he starts in January.

June 2015

Mechanics with Altitude
Sam, Will, and Dr. Holmes all attended the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport (SB3C) Conference in Snowbird, Utah. Sam and Will both gave talks on their research, and we all earned margaritas by hiking to the top of Hidden Peak.

May 2015

Moving On
Kamal, Kevin, Vaish, William, and Wade all graduated this month, and moved on to jobs, medical school, and BME PhD programs (William will head to Georgia Tech, Wade to UCSD). Congrats to all!

March 2015

Mechanics Matters
This month, Dr. Holmes gave invited talks at two conferences where mechanics is not usually featured: a Keystone Symposium on Cell Biology of the Heart and a Gordon Research Conference on Cardiac Arrhythmia Mechanics. The talks addressed how scar structure and mechanics influence the effect of a wide range of heart therapies, including stem cell implantation and radiofrequency ablation.

January 2015

New Research on Atrial Fibrillation
The CBG has secured funding from nContact, Inc. to evaluate the mechanical effects of their novel approach to ablation for atrial fibrillation.

News 2014

December 2014

So many grants, he has to give some back!
This summer, Will was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association. Now, he has also been selected for a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institutes of Health. Sadly, he can’t keep them both…

October 2014

Undergrads rule at BMES 2014
Will led a team of CBG undergrads who presented their research at the 2014 Biomedical Engineering Society annual meetings in San Antonio, TX. Vaish, Wade, and William all presented posters, and Will gave a talk as well.

September 2014

Biomechanics Summer School in Austria
Dr. Holmes joined 5 other instructors at the 6th Summer School on Biomechanics in Graz, Austria. Organized by Professors Gerhard Holzapfel and Ray Ogden, the summer schools are held every other year and provide a great crash course in continuum mechanics and current state-of-the-art biomechanics research.

August 2014

New Scar Grant on Scar Modeling and Remodeling
A new R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health will fund a stringent test of our models of scar formation in the heart. We will predict changes in scar structure following mechanical unloading by surgical reinforcement, then test those predictions in new experiments. The ultimate goal is to produce models good enough for use in designing new post-infarction therapies.

July 2014

CBG at the WCB
Cardiac Biomechanics Group members gave 4 talks at the World Congress of Biomechanics in Boston this month. Highlighted projects included Christian’s work on the mechanics of atrial fibrillation, Will’s work on scar compaction, and Wade’s models of hemodynamics compensation following infarction.

May 2014

Colleen Witzenburg selected for Hartwell Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
Colleen – currently completing her PhD with Dr. Victor Barocas – won a postdoctoral fellowship from the Hartwell Foundation to model heart growth in children with congenital heart disease. She will start her project in Fall 2014.

March 2014

Two new PhD students join the CBG
Two new PhD students have finished their rotations and officially joined the lab. Kellen Chen did his undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley, and Ana Estrada graduated from Rice University.

February 2014

Paper published and highlighted in Biophysical Journal
Andrew’s paper showing that mechanical restraint biases cell migration in an in vitro wound model was published in Biophysical Journal and highlighted in a New & Notable editorial by Guy Genin and Elliot Elson.

January 2014

Physiological Genomics paper selected for the cover
Beth and Charlie’s paper, “Effects of stretch and shortening on gene expression in intact myocardium,” was published in Physiological Genomics and selected for the cover illustration. The paper shows that a surprising number of genes that respond specifically to changes in shortening in cardiac muscle are related to extracellular matrix.

News 2013

December 2013

Another 2013 CBG graduate
Christian defended his thesis, the fourth PhD student to graduate from the CBG in 2013! He has been accepted into the Stanford Biodesign program, starting in Fall 2014.

October 2013

CBG Reunion at BMES in Seattle
We had our largest CBG reunion dinner yet – 7 current/former members and Dr. Holmes – at the Steelhead Diner near Pike Place Market.

September 2013

Best paper award at the ASME/FDA meeting
Christian won the best student paper award at the ASME/FDA Frontiers in Medical Devices: Applications of Computer Modeling and Simulation conference in Bethesda, MD. He presented finite-element modeling results on the effects of radiofrequency (RF) ablation on left atrial mechanics.

August 2013

Are there tendons in the heart?
Not really. But a new grant from the National Science Foundation will apply the models of scar formation the CBG developed for healing infarcts to better understand how mechanical loading affects healing in damaged tendons.

July 2013

Alex Clark wins a Harrison Award
This summer, one of the undergraduates in the lab is working on a project he proposed, using a highly competitive Harrison Award he won. Alex Clark is devising ways to automatically analyze ultrasound images of the heart to improve screening for rheumatic heart disease in the developing world. Alex is working with Drs. Craig Sable and Andrea Beaton at Children’s National Health System, and with Dr. Paul Matherne here at UVA.

June 2013

Andrew, Beth, and Katy all defend their PhDs
Three CBG PhD students are graduating this spring. Andrew defended his PhD in April, Beth and Katy in June.

May 2013

Two new papers accepted
Beth’s study, accepted in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, shows that hearts undergoing hypertrophy in response to pressure overload not only re-express genes normally expressed only during embryonic development, but also re-express fetal mRNA isoforms through alternative splicing. Christian’s paper in IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging presents the MRI-based atrial wall motion analysis methods he developed for his thesis project with Drs. Ferguson in Cardiology and Norton in Radiology.

April 2013

New book chapter on infarct restraint and reinforcement
Sam co-authored a chapter entitled, “Cardiac Restraint & Support Following Myocardial Infarction” with Drs. Ghanta and Ailawadi from Surgery and Dr. Holmes. The chapter will appear in the Springer book Cardiovascular and Cardiac Devices, edited by Thomas Franz from University of Cape Town.

News 2012

November 2012

Katy presents at the American Heart Association
Ethan and Katy’s work with Dr. Ken Bilchick from Cardiology on mapping pacing lead positions from standard clinical fluoroscopy images was selected for presentation at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Los Angeles. The new method helps electrophysiologists relate pacing lead position to heart anatomy, function, and scar location imaged on pre-procedure MRI scans.

October 2012

Andrew and Sam both presented their projects in oral session at the Biomedical Engineering Society meeting in Atlanta. On Thursday, Alice Lee (New Jersey Institute of Technology) joined Andrew, Sam, and Dr. Holmes for the 2nd annual CBG reunion dinner. If you will be in Seattle next year please plan to join us.

September 2012

Andrew’s model published in Journal of Physiology
The new agent-based model (ABM) of myocardial infarct healing Andrew developed is able to reproduce the patterns of collagen alignment we see in a range of different healing infarcts, and explains the dual role of pre-existing extracellular matrix and mechanics in determining healing scar structure.

August 2012

Will Richardson joins the CBG
Will Richardson did his PhD at Texas A&M and was awarded a postdoctoral spot on the Cardiovascular Training Grant to join the CBG and work on models of infarct healing.

July 2012

Anisotropic patch study published in Circulation Heart Failure
Following up on Jesse and Greg’s finite element modeling paper from 2011, this study with Dr. Ailawadi from Cardiothoracic Surgery shows that longitudinally reinforcing large anterior-apical infarcts dramatically improves acute function.


Awards for CBG students
Sam Clark won a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, one of only 150 nationwide in Bioengineering/BME! Katy Parker won second place in the University of Virginia Engineering Research Symposium with her research on wall motion during dobutamine stress testing.


Greg's cryoinfarct study published
A major component of Greg's PhD thesis, a study using cryoinfarcts with different shapes and locations to show that mechanics determines collagen fiber alignment in healing infarcts, was published online in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology.


New paper on the mechanics of cell growth
Dr. Holmes co-authored a new paper with Drs. Ateshian, Hung, and Morrison - former colleagues at Columbia - on the mechanics of cell growth; the paper was published online this month in the journal Mechanics Research Communications.


New grant on infarct reinforcement
Drs. Holmes and Ailawadi (Surgery) received an R21 grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct a chronic trial of our anisotropic infarct reinforcement strategy.

News 2011


Dr. Holmes Edits Special Issue of Journal of Biomechanics
Dr. Holmes co-edited a special issue on Cardiovascular Solid Mechanics, which was published this month. The issue contains articles on cardiac, vascular, and valve biomechanics.


A Little Skeletal Biomechanics Too
Beth worked with Bahar Sharafi, a graduate student in Dr. Blemker's laboratory in Mechanical Engineering, to help test model predictions about how strain is transferred from muscles to tendons. The study was published this month in the Journal of Biomechanics.


First CBG Reunion Dinner
The CBG held its first annual reunion dinner at the BMES meeting in Hartford. Alice Lee and Alex Quinn joined current lab members at Vito's By The Park 


Katy Presents at American Society of Echocardiography
Katy presented a poster at the American Society of Echocardiography meeting in Montreal, QC titled "Should we believe what we see? Quantitative analysis of three-dimensional dobutamine stress echo in low-risk patients”, summarizing her clinical study in collaboration with the UVa Echocardiography Lab.


Debbie's Team Wins the URDS
Debbie Padilla's team placed first in the team category at the SEAS Undergraduate Research & Design Symposium with their capstone project, "Development of a Novel, Rapid Detection Technique for Pertussis."


CBG Undergrads Headed to Top Grad Schools
Congratulations to Debbie, Ethan, and Jesse, who are all heading to top graduate programs in the fall. Jesse will enter the Bioengineering PhD program at the University of Washington and Ethan (PhD in BME) and Debbie (Master of Public Health) will both be at Columbia University.


CBG Alum Steve Thomopoulos in the News
Steve Thomopoulos, a former postdoc in the CBG, is now a tenured Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Washington University in St. Louis. He's come up with a new method for improving tendon-to-bone repairs, featured in this news story.


Greg and Jesse's modeling study published
Greg and Jesse's computational study asked what infarct material properties optimize left ventricular function. For a large anteroapical infarct, the surprising result is that the best properties are high longitudinal stiffness and low circumferential stiffness, which is not what happens naturally in healing anteroapical infarcts! Their paper, "Model-Based Design of Mechanical Therapies for Myocardial Infarction," was published this month in the Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research.


Christian and Loren Budge present at Society of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance
Loren, one of our collaborators on the atrial mechanics project, presented a poster at the 2011 SCMR Meeting titled, "A Novel Method for Quantitating Delayed Enhancement of the Left Atrium," reflecting work he and Christian have done on identifying atrial fibrosis.

News 2010


Samantha Clark joins the CBG
After completing rotations in three laboratories, Samantha Clark joined the CBG to study infarct mechanics. Sam studied Biomedical Engineering at Bucknell as an undergraduate and started the PhD program at the University of Virginia in August 2010.


Dr. Holmes presents at American Heart Association
Dr. Holmes presented an invited talk, “Mechanical Regulation of Collagen Structure in Healing Infarcts,” at the American Heart Association meeting in Chicago.


Jesse presents at BMES
Jesse presented data from his modeling study of the impact of infarct mechanical properties on left ventricular function at the Biomedical Engineering Society meeting in Austin, TX. Jesse worked on this project with Greg Fomovsky, a former PhD student in the group who is now a postdoc at Harvard. Their paper will be published soon in a special issue of the Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research.


Christian wins an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship
Christian Moyer won a competitive two-year predoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association to support his work on atrial fibrillation. Christian is the 3rd CBG student to win an AHA fellowship in the last 3 years.


Dr. Holmes runs the show
Dr. Holmes was the Program Chair for this year’s Summer Bioengineering Conference in Naples, Florida. He was in charge of organizing the scientific program for the meeting, including a keynote speaker and workshop on using Lego Robotics to help get elementary students excited about engineering. Our speaker was the director of the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach at Tufts:

Greg heads back to Boston
Greg defended his PhD and started a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard with Rich Lee.


Charlie graduates
Charlie defended his PhD and started a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Jason Papin at the University of Virginia.

Christian presents at Heart Rhythm Society
Christian presented his work on atrial wall motion in patients with atrial fibrillation at the Heart Rhythm Society conference in Denver, CO.


Andrew presents at Experimental Biology
Andrew showed that fibroblasts migrate faster in the direction of applied tension in a poster presented at Experimental Biology.

News 2009


CBG awarded a grant to study infarct mechanics
Dr. Holmes is the principal investigator on an NIH R01 grant to study infarct anisotropy; the grant will provide nearly a million dollars over the next two years.


Greg wins the SBC Ph.D. Student Paper Competition
Every year at the Summer Bioengineering Conference, roughly 200 PhD students compete in the student paper competition. Only 18 are selected to compete on-site in the finals, and Greg has been selected twice (2007 and 2009). This year he won!