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Goulbourne earns NSF award to research heart stent sensors
Date:9/5/2008

Blacksburg, Va. -- Innovative work on a new type of heart stent sensor is earning Nakhiah Goulbourne, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech, a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award of $400,000.

The focus of Goulbourne's research is the development of specific models and experiments to describe what happens to a human artery equipped with a stent that has a unique type of in situ polymer strain-sensing device.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, half of the over one million Americans who have heart attacks each year are fatal; stent deployment within hours of the incident can be lifesaving. A coronary stent or elastic tube implant is a permanent insert placed in the artery to act as a scaffold to keep the artery open and allow proper cardiovascular flow.

As Goulbourne explained, she is interested in this research because the percentage of stent implant failures is as high as 20 to 30 percent. Also, there is a lack of diagnostic tools to dynamically monitor the mechanical state of the stented artery.

Understanding the integration of stent/artery mechanics, post-implant phenomena, and new measurement techniques in difficult to access locations, such as the human body's cardiovascular system, is crucial to their proper and optimal application, Goulbourne added.

Goulbourne's National Science Foundation project is titled "Multiphysics Modeling and Experiments for Pulsatile Membrane Sensors."

A National Science Foundation CAREER award also allows the recipient to focus on education and outreach. Goulbourne plans to use her CAREER award to work with middle school children.

She explained, "A part of my program will be dedicated to the development of an annual summer Girls in Engineering, Mathematics and Science (GEMS) workshop for approximately 20 girls from four schools in grades 9 and 10 in Jamaica, where I
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Contact: Lynn Nystrom
tansy@vt.edu
540-231-4371
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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