Andrea Lucia Alfonso

Major/Minor: Biological Engineering (Cornell University)

Year: 5th Year

Lab Name and Department: Platt Lab for Tissue Remodeling, Repair, and Regeneration (GT BME)

Project Title: Understanding and Characterizing the Effects of Arterial Morphologies, Mechanics, and Hemodynamics in a Transgenic Mouse Model of Sickle Cell Anemia 

Is your lab work remote, in-person, or hybrid? Remote

How did you join your lab?  I was able to conduct this summer remote research through Emory University’s Laney Graduate School- Summer Opportunity for Academic Research (LGS-SOAR Global) Program. This 10-week experience is open to all students that do not attend Emory University.


Please describe your project:

Sickle cell anemia (SCA) is one of the genetic disorder manifestations of a broader class of prevalent hemoglobinopathies known as sickle cell disease (SCD), which affects millions globally. In terms of arterial mechanics, it is hypothesized that there is a trend between the early and accelerated age- dependent degradation and remodeling of arterial extracellular matrix and the likelihood for stroke in mice homozygous for SCA. In order to understand the possible key sources for these arterial changes, a mouse model was used to define morphological and cerebral blood flow changes by using a combination of live imaging with ultrasound and microcomputed tomography (micro-CT), all in order to obtain a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model. Determining the pathological mechanisms for these vascular morphologies and blood flow velocities may aid in developing therapeutics for preventing strokes. 

Anything else you would like to say? 

Be open to exploring new fields or techniques that you may not have originally expected to have to work with. This is not only a great way to learn but may also open your interests to something you may not have be open to pursing beforehand.