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Student Profile

Senior project spotlight: Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang thesis

Engineering Design Projects (ES 100), the capstone course at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, challenges seniors to engineer a creative solution to a real-world problem.

An In Vitro Model of Aortic Arch to Improve Outcomes in the Repair of Aortic Defects

By Andrew Yang, S.B. ’20, engineering sciences

Since the physical properties of the aorta are not well understood in the medical community, and because treatments like patches and stents tend to be one-size-fits-all, patients often require multiple treatments for aortic defects. Yang developed a silicone model to provide a better understanding of how patient-specific aortic defects can affect the pressure, vessel compliance, and blood flow through the aorta. His 3D printed model, which he tested using water and glycerol to model blood, could provide a low-cost method for modeling specific outcomes before a patient comes in for surgery. The model could also be used in the medical device pipeline; researchers could incorporate medical devices into the model to study how they would impact aortic function before moving on to tests in animals or humans.

“I’m really interested in the intersection between engineering and medicine, particularly looking at ways different devices and other technologies can aid clinicians in their work,” he said. “This project, working in a clinical setting, was perfect for me. Cardiovascular surgery is one of the most complex areas of medicine, and I learned so much about it through this thesis.”

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