Bersi receives CAREER award

Matthew Bersi, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, will use pioneering optics-based mechanical testing and imaging techniques to study the aorta with a five-year $575,000 CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.

The aorta, the body’s largest artery, can develop weaknesses that can lead to a catastrophic rupture because of the mechanical demands of continuous blood flow over one’s lifetime. But researchers do not yet have the reliable tools to predict when and where a rupture may occur.

Headshot of Matthew Bersi

Bersi co-developed a unique optical system that uses a series of cameras and mirrors to enable simultaneous visualization all the way around a tissue sample. Only two of these systems exist in the world. This system allows researchers to reconstruct the local mechanical environment around defects, or areas of weakness which may eventually rupture, in a model that can be more easily studied than in humans.

CAREER awards support junior faculty who model the role of teacher-scholar through outstanding research, excellence in education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organization. One-third of current McKelvey Engineering faculty have received the award.

Read more on the McKelvey Engineering website.

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