Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2014

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Vigmostad, Sarah C

First Committee Member

Udaykumar, H S

Second Committee Member

Henry, Michael

Third Committee Member

Lu, Jia

Fourth Committee Member

Raghavan, Madhavan L

Fifth Committee Member

Sander, Edward


The objective of this work is to develop a novel 3-D biological particulate dynamics framework to simulate blood flow in the micro circulation. This entails the amalgamation of concepts from various fields namely blood flow dynamics, solid mechanics, fluid-structure interaction and computational data structures. It is envisioned that this project will serve as a harbinger for implementing a multi-scale simulation model with applications in a vast array of situations from blood flows in heart valves to studying cancer metastasis. The primary motivation for this work stems from the need for establishing a simple, effective and holistic framework for performing blood flow simulations, taking into account the extremely 3-D nature of flow, the particle interactions and fluid structure interaction between blood and its constituent elements. Many current models to simulate blood cells rely on finite element methods which render large scale simulations extremely computationally intensive. The development of a framework for simulating blood flow is tied together with achieving a framework for performing an investigation of cancer metastasis. Cancer initially develops at a primary site and spreads through the body to secondary sites using the circulatory systems of the body - the blood circulatory system and the lymphatic system. It is known that all the cancer cells that enter into the circulation do not survive the harsh environment, though the exact cause of this is still undetermined. Moreover, the mechanical properties of cancer cells are not well documented and appropriate computational models require that experiments be conducted to determine the same. Thus the end goal of this work is to establish a system to analyze and simulate 3-D blood particulate dynamics, including cancer cells, from a holistic standpoint in order to understand more about the phenomenon of blood flow as a whole, and cancer metastasis in particular.


Blood Flow, Cancer Metastasis, Immersed Boundary Method, Isogeometric Analysis, Micropippete Aspiration, NURBS


xvi, 185 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 175-185).


Copyright 2014 VenkatKeshav Chivukula