Notre Dame Bioengineering students undertake unique research projects related to a variety of biomedical problems ranging from cell mechanobiology, to regenerative medicine, to the mechanics of biological materials. Students are guided and encouraged to take leadership roles in their research, so that they are acknowledged leaders in their fields upon graduation. In order to achieve this, students publish their results in peer-reviewed journals and present at international conferences.
Ling Sun completed her undergraduate education at Zhejiang University in China where she graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering. She joined the Bioengineering Graduate Program at the University of Notre Dame in September 2009 and is now working in the Multi-Scale Cardiovascular Bioengineering Laboratory directed by Dr. Philippe Sucosky.
Ling was awarded 2nd place in the Masters Student paper competition (Dynamics, Design, Rehabilitation and Injury) at the ASME 2011 Summer Bioengineering Conference, June 22-25, 2011. Ling's paper was titled "Design and Validation of a Novel Bioreactor to Expose Aortic Valve Leaflets to Side-Specific Shear Stress".
Shear stress bioreactor: a) schematic; b) laboratory setup; c) mechanical validation showing agreement between the target shear stress waveforms and the shear stress achieved by the device; and d) biological validation showing the preservation of the tissue endothelium (von Willebrand factor stain) and endothelial cell density (silver nitrate stain).
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Ling’s research interest is in the mechanobiological elucidation of heart valve disease. Specifically, she intends to examine the effects of normal and abnormal blood fluid forces on the biology of aortic valve leaflets in order to determine the molecules potentially involved in the transduction of abnormal hemodynamic forces into a pathological response. Ultimately, the modeling of those mechanobiological processes will help the design of non-invasive pharmacological treatments. Ling’s methodology involves the design of bioreactors to expose heart valve tissue to prescribed hemodynamic forces, the implementation of state-of-the-art biological protocols to measure cellular response, and the development of sophisticated mathematical models to predict the tissue biological response to blood flow abnormalities.