Heart Abnormalities Cause More Stress Than Just Stress!

Eck Institute for Global Health Fellow Ling Sun, along with Assistant Professor Philippe Sucosky, was the lead author on a recent publication in the open access journal PLoS (available here). The study demonstrates the key role played by bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) hemodynamic abnormalities in calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD) pathogenesis and suggests the dependence of BAV vulnerability to calcification on the local degree of wall sheer stress (WSS) abnormality.

Ling SunSun is a second year recepient of an Eck Institute for Global Health Fellowship and fourth year doctoral candidate in the laboratory of Philippe Sucosky, PhD, in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and EIGH faculty member. Sucosky is the Director of Notre Dame’s Multi-Scale Cardiovascular Bioengineering Laboratory, whose research specializes in cardiovascular hemodynamics and mechanobiology.

Sun, a native of China, came to the University of Notre Dame in pursuit of a degree in bioengineering and the mechanics of diseases specifically to work in the lab of Sucosky. Prevalence of cardiovascular disease in China is high. Sun comments, "In developing countries, calcific aortic valve disease is secondary to rheumatic fever and accounts for 25-40% of all cardiovascular diseases." 

Sucosky’s novel research in a well-populated field is a new approach no one is currently exploring.