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Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

graduate students working hard


In the area of biomechanics, we have a research focus in cardiac and valvular mechanics, as well as several growing collaborations in musculoskeletal and neural engineering. Our Biomechanics course (ME 580) covers all of these topics and introduces students to hypothesis-driven research, which they can apply to their thesis projects.

Fluid and solid biomechanics of the heart and aorta are assessed to improve the human body’s response to chronic implantation of medical devices. Our current work evaluates intraventricular and aortic blood flow patterns and valve opening in Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) patients who have a high incidence of thrombus formation and valve disease. We are extending our in vitro flow visualization studies to develop noninvasive flow imaging and using vortex analysis to understand the link between stagnation and blood clot formation in VAD patients. The goal is to work with VAD companies to improve the performance of their devices. This work is part of a longstanding collaboration with cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons at Sharp Memorial Hospital and has produced several Ph.D. and M.S. graduates. We have a history of collaboration with the SDSU Department of Exercise and Nutrition and Children's Hospital in orthopedic/musculoskeletal biomechanics. One recent example is a study evaluating the use of shape memory alloy staples to correct scoliosis, which was the subject of a MS thesis.

The field of cardiac assist is moving towards the combined use of both engineering and stem cell technologies to tackle the challenge of healing diseased heart tissue. We plan to explore the mechanobiologic relationships that determine how implanted stem cells engraft, differentiate and integrate into the native heart as a function of myocardial wall stress and pressure development.

Our recent partnership through the ERC/SNE has expanded our interest in musculoskeletal biomechanics and created a need for further development of education and research in this area. Some of our current projects involve the development of assistive technology for patients with neuromuscular dysfunction, but in the long-term we wish to tackle complex problems including the design and control of prosthetic limbs, and how these may be optimized by using biosignal sensors, wireless systems, and smart feedback.

Drs. Katira, May-Newman, Youssef


Schematic of the Prosthesis developed by the Biomaterials and Biomechanics research lab. 

Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, E-326

San Diego State University

5500 Campanile Drive

San Diego, CA 92182-1323