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Modeling hemodynamics of the human placenta

Graduate student: Dana Schonberger

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The human placenta is a complex organ that plays a vital role in fetal growth and development, serving as the interface for oxygen and nutrient transport between the cardiovascular systems of the mother and fetus. Placental insufficiency is the leading cause of fetal growth restriction (FGR), increasing the risk of neonatal, childhood, and adulthood morbidity. Yet it is one of the least understood and monitored organs during pregnancy. While MRI provides morphological information on the placenta, its functional information is limited and time-consuming. Computational hemodynamics models can provide a basic physical understanding of the hemodynamics and oxygen transfer of the placenta, complementary to MRI. The current project is in collaboration with Prof. Dafna Ben Bashat, from Sagol Brain Institute at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, aims to predict placental function by combining imaging metrics of placental morphology and vasculature with computational hemodynamics models. Additionally, it aims to predict fetal development based on the morphological and mechanical results. This tool could be used in clinical practice to identify fetuses at risk for FGR and other placental insufficiency-related pathologies.

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