Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2023-12-09, 03:49 authored by Tyler DiorioTyler Diorio

The brain is a dynamic tissue that is passively driven by a combination of the cardiac cycle, respiration, and slow wave oscillations. The function of the brain relies on its ability to maintain a normal homeostatic balance between its mechanical environment and metabolic demands, which can be greatly altered in the cases of neurodegeneration or traumatic brain injury. It has been a challenge in the field to quantify the dynamics of the tissue and cerebrospinal fluid flow in human subjects on a patient-specific basis over the many spatial and temporal scales that it relies upon. Non-invasive imaging tools like structural, functional, and dynamic MRI sequences provide modern researchers with an unprecedented view into the human brain. Our work leverages these sequences by developing novel, open-source pipelines to 1) quantify the biomechanical environment of the brain tissue over 133 functional brain regions, and 2) estimate real-time cerebrospinal fluid velocity from flow artifacts on functional MRI by employing breathing regimens to enhance fluid motion. These pipelines provide a comprehensive view of the macroscale tissue and fluid motion in a given patient. Additionally, we sought to understand how the transmission of macroscale forces, in the context of traumatic brain injury, contribute to neuronal damage by 3) developing a digital twin to simulate 30-200 g-force loading of 2D neuronal cultures and observing the morphological and electrophysiological consequences of these impacts in vitro by our collaborators. Taken together, we believe these works are a steppingstone that will enable future researchers to deeply understand the mechanical contributions that underly clinical neurological outcomes and perhaps lead to the development of earlier diagnostics, which is of dire need in the case of neurodegenerative diseases.


NIA 1R21AG068962-01A1


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Biomedical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Vitaliy L. Rayz

Additional Committee Member 2

Yunjie Tong

Additional Committee Member 3

Eric Nauman

Additional Committee Member 4

Deva Chan