Recent NIH-funded investigations aim to identify biological transport properties that can be used to deliver air to obstructed regions of the lung. These studies are particularly relevant to the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which afflicts approximately 200,000 individuals annually in the U.S. and has a mortality rate of 40%. Tulane’s investigations are targeted at the development of mechanical ventilation strategies to reduce the mechanical stress associated with ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI). These studies, performed in the Professor Donald Gaver’s laboratory, use computational modeling, micro-scale flow visualization techniques and biological assays to identify surfactant transport interactions that may reduce the deleterious mechanical stresses that can damage sensitive pulmonary epithelial cells. These studies test the hypothesis that engineered pulsatile ventilation waveforms will minimize damage to airway epithelial cells by optimizing surfactant transport and biophysical responses to reduce the damaging mechanical stresses imparted on the airway epithelium.
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