Hemorheology: An Engineering Perspective on Blood Flow


Wednesday, February 8th, 2012


Speaker : Herbert J. Meiselman, ScD, Keck School of Medicine

Title : Hemorheology: An Engineering Perspective on Blood Flow

Time : 16.00 (Refreshments will be served at 15.45)

Place : SOS B 08

Hemorheology: An Engineering Perspective on Blood Flow

Herbert J. Meiselman, ScD
Keck School of Medicine
Los Angeles, CA

The rheological behavior of blood and its formed elements are of current basic science and medical interest, with this attention prompted by both engineering considerations and by clinical conditions that can modify rheological behavior. This field of study, termed hemorheology, deals with rheological properties on several levels: 1) macroscopic where whole blood is viewed as a non-Newtonian, shear-thinning fluid; 2) cellular which considers the deformation response of individual red blood cells (RBC) and white blood cells (WBC) when subjected to mechanical forces; 3) microscopic where intrinsic cell membrane material properties such as elastic modulus and viscosity are determined, usually via micropipette techniques. Various clinical conditions, including diabetes, heart attack, sickle cell disease and stroke, can adversely affect the rheological behavior of blood and hamper blood circulation; exact linkages between laboratory measured rheological properties and tissue blood flow have yet to be fully defined. One area where engineering/biophysical approaches and clinical interests converge is the phenomenon of reversible RBC-RBC aggregation: it is a major determinant of blood?s non-Newtonian flow behavior, can be grossly abnormal in several pathologies, and markedly affects RBC flow dynamics in smaller blood vessels. Models for polymer-induced RBC aggregation, experimental and theoretical results for cell-cell adhesion, and the role of cellular properties in RBC aggregation will be presented. Areas for possible future engineering-medical science collaborative research will be briefly considered.