Professor Michael Sacks is the W. A. “Tex” Moncrief, Jr. Simulation-Based Engineering Science Chair and Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Sacks has held appointment at the University of Pittsburgh as the John A. Swanson Chair in the Department of Bioengineering, and obtained his B.S. and M.S. in Engineering Mechanics from Michigan State University, and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering (Biomechanics) from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. In 2006 he was selected in one of the Scientific American top 50 scientists, and won the 2009 Van C. Mow Medal, ASME Bioengineering Division and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award, University of Pittsburgh. He is a Fellow of the ASME, BMES (Inaugural), and AIMBE. He is currently the Editor of the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, and serves on the Editorial Board for 27 other Journals.
He is a world authority on cardiovascular biomechanics, with a focus on the quantification and simulation of the structure-mechanical properties of native and engineered cardiovascular soft tissues. He is a leading authority on the mechanical behavior and function of heart valves, including the development of the first constitutive models for these tissues using a structural approach. He is also active in the biomechanics of engineered tissues, and in understanding the in-vitro and in-vivo remodeling processes from a functional biomechanical perspective. His research includes multi-scale studies of cell/tissue/organ mechanical interactions in heart valves and is particularly interested in determining the local stress environment for heart valve interstitial cells. Recent research has included developing novel constitutive models of right ventricular myocardium that allow for the individual contributions of the myocyte and connective tissue networks. Dr. Sacks is currently working on development of a Center for Cardiovascular Simulation-based Engineering with Dr. Hughes and other ICES and UT faculty.
Our laboratory has pioneered morphologically-based constitutive models for native and engineered cardiac tissues. For engineered tissues, the scaffolds utilized require advanced biomechanical models to clarify how their intricate microstructure and the concomitant complexity of mechanical interactions occurring between scaffold, cellular, and extracellular matrix constituents all work together in an engineered tissue construct. We have extended our mathematical models that simulate the composite mechanical behavior of the scaffold and the developing tissue, which are intended to facilitate the design of engineered tissues and mechanical conditioning regimens. Such models could thus play a pivotal role in the design and development of engineered soft tissues. Applications to state-of-the-art elastomeric scaffolds will be presented and demonstrate how they can be designed for cardiovascular applications. Computational implementation of these models represents the major next step in the understanding of biological tissues, and is essential for the understanding of the underlying processes for growth and remodeling, and hence the mechano-growth governing laws. Recent results of these approaches will also be presented.