Gorman Cardiovascular Research Group

UT Southwestern Children's Medical Center and Cardiothoracic Surgery

Wafic Said Molecular Cardiology Lab

Austin Heart Hospital

UT Dell Medical School

Cardiovascular Fluid Mechanics Laboratory

Artificial Heart & Cardiovascular Fluid Dynamics Lab

Computational Fluid-Structure Interaction Laboratory


1) New Heart Valve Modeling Technique Enables Customized Medical Care for Patients

J.T. Willerson Center researchers have developed a new noninvasive technique for simulating repairs to the heart’s mitral valve with levels of accuracy reliable enough for use in a clinical setting. Mitral valve (MV) disease is one of the most common valve-related heart conditions, newly diagnosed in 5 million Americans each year. Left unchecked, MV disease can lead to heart failure and/or stroke. This advance in computational modeling technology allows surgeons to provide patient-specific treatments, a development that will improve the long-term efficacy of current medical approaches.

Details about this work can be read at the featured UT news article.

2) J.T. Willerson Center research is featured on covers for
International Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering (Volume 34, Issue 10),
Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering (Volume 11, Issue 4), and
Annals of Biomedical Engineering (Volume 47, Issue 1)

The first cover image (above left), features the article titled A noninvasive method for the determination of in vivo mitral valve leaflet strains, which explores a "noninvasive method for the determination of mitral valve (MV) leaflet deformation, which is a critical metric of MV function." MV function has an essential role in many applications for the treatment of MV disease. Authored by Amir H. Khalighi, Bruno V. Rego, Andrew Drach, Robert C. Gorman, Joseph H. Gorman and Michael S. Sacks.

A second cover image (above middle) features the article titled The Three-Dimensional Microenvironment of the Mitral Valve: Insights into the Effects of Physiological Loads, explores the mechanical interactions between mitral valve interstitial cells (MVIC) and their local collagen fibers. Authored by Salma Ayoub, Karen C. Tsai, Amir Khalighi and Michael S. Sacks.

A third cover image (above right) features the article titled Development of a Functionally Equivalent Model of the Mitral Valve Chordae Tendineae Through Topology Optimization, which explores methods to "to produce functionally equivalent MV chordae tendineae (MVCT) models that can be built from the image-based MV leaflet geometry alone." This is helpful in situations where the MVCT geometry cannot be properly captured for modeling. Authored by Amir H. Khalighi, Bruno V. Rego, Andrew Drach, Robert C. Gorman, Joseph H. Gorman III, Michael S. Sacks


The overarching goal of the Willerson Center for Cardiovascular Modeling and Simulation (WCCMS) is developing computational biomechanical models for understanding heart valve and heart disease progression for developing clinical interventions, including prosthetics devices. We develop or utilize a range of unique in-vivo and in-vitro data for elucidating mechanisms that underlie the observed pathologies.  Our modeling focus is the detailed incorporation of this data to provide a high level of physical and physiological realism and validation, working at the continuum-cellular, fibrous tissue, and whole organ levels. We ultimately seek to provide cardiovascular scientists and clinicians with advanced simulations for the rational development of treatments for structural heart and heart valve diseases. Such simulations can ultimately lead to reduction in development time, lowering of morbidity and mortality, reduced re-operative rates, and lessened post-operative recovery time. Moreover, the development and use of these tools in the context of patient-specific models will ultimately also allow clinicians to craft cardiovascular therapies that are optimized for the cardiovascular system of individuals, with a resulting increase in success and decrease in risk adverse side effects.

Michael Sacks, Director

2017 WCCMS Group Photo

Downloadable Brochure (PDF)