National society recognizes biomedical engineering graduate student

July 13, 2022

By Ashley J. WennersHerron

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sailahari V. Ponnaluri, a doctoral candidate in the Penn State Department of Biomedical Engineering, earned a 2022 Oral Abstract Award from the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO). She was recognized at the annual conference in Chicago on June 9.

Ponnaluri’s abstract summarized a collaborative project between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Penn State titled “Assessment of Interlaboratory Computational Simulations of the FDA Benchmark Blood Pump.” Her effort was supported through a National Science Foundation Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students supplemental grant awarded to Ponnaluri’s adviser Keefe Manning, professor of biomedical engineering, professor of surgery and director of the Artificial Heart & Cardiovascular Fluid Dynamics Lab.

The computational simulations rely on computational fluid dynamics (CFD), which is used to model realistic fluid flows for applications ranging from mapping currents to studying biological flows.

A 2019-20 Leighton Riess Graduate Fellow in the Penn State Center for Biodevices, Ponnaluri conducts her doctoral research on fluid dynamics in cardiac-related devices. To assess the accuracy of CFD simulations used around the world, the FDA established a benchmark centrifugal blood pump model for researchers to test their approaches.

The team invited participants from around the world to test their CFD simulations of the pump. According to Ponnaluri, the 24 submitted results demonstrated a wide range of CFD solvers, resolutions and turbulence models, providing insight into the accuracy of CFD simulations from a wide range of users in the medical device community.

Overall, according to the researchers, no submission was able to accurately predict all variables of interest across all six of the pump operating conditions evaluated in this study. This demonstrates that CFD modeling of blood pumps must be carefully validated across all operating conditions and for all variables of interest, the researchers said.

Manning co-authored the abstract. Other co-authors include Prasanna Hariharan, Luke H. Herbertson, Richard A. Malinauskas and Brent A. Craven, all with the Division of Applied Mechanics, Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, FDA.


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