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Mathematics professor Aaron Fogelson, who models blood clotting, named SIAM Fellow

View the original post from the College of Science here.

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) has named University of Utah professor Aaron L. Fogelson a SIAM Fellow in recognition of his pioneering work on mathematical modeling of blood clotting.

This year’s 26 SIAM Fellows form a crucial group of researchers advancing the fields of applied mathematics, computational science and data science.

Aaron Fogelson

A professor of mathematics, Fogelson lists his research interests as mathematical physiology, modeling of blood clotting, gels and viscoelastic fluids and numerical solution of partial differential equations (PDEs).

“Clotting is an extremely complex process with physical, chemical, and cell biological components which is essential to maintaining the integrity of our circulatory system,” he wrote on his faculty profile. “When it malfunctions the consequences can be dire, including heart attack and stroke. Clotting is subject to intense research by laboratory and medical scientists but its complexity makes it very difficult to think through how it works or to make predictions about how well medical interventions to treat clotting problems will work. That is where mathematics and the work I do comes in.”

Blood pressures vary greatly in the circulatory system and blood flows at different speeds through vessels of widely varying diameter, leading to great variation in shear stress. Accordingly, the challenges of forming a blood clot to stop the outflow of blood differ substantially in different vascular beds.

“The system that has evolved to cope with these disparate challenges involves the aggregation of cells (platelets) and the formation of fibrous protein gel (fibrin),” Fogelson wrote on his lab’s website, “In addition, there is a complex, powerful, and tightly regulated enzyme network (the coagulation system) involving reactions on the surfaces of activated platelets, that leads to production of an enzyme, thrombin, that is key both in activating platelets so they can cohere to one another and in forming the protein fibrin from which the fibrin mesh is constructed.”

The Fogelson research group has been developing models of the disparate aspects of blood clotting for nearly 40 years.

They have built and analyzed models based on PDEs, ordinary differential equations, or ODEs, or stochastic differential equations and, as needed, they have developed novel numerical methods with which to study the PDE-based models.

Projects of current interest in this research space include developing ODE-based compartment models of platelet deposition and coagulation under flow that treat developing thrombi as porous materials and which can track resulting flow, the growth of aggregates, and the biochemistry of platelet signaling and coagulation from the initiation of clot formation through vessel occlusion.

The goal is a high-throughput simulation tool that will allow extensive investigation of model behavior as parameters and other inputs are adjusted to reflect different physiological situations and disease states.

Fogelson has been a faculty member at the U since 1986 after earning his PhD at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University and working as a post-doctoral researcher at first the University of California, Berkeley and then the Courant Institute.

He is also adjunct professor of biomedical engineering, and was Associate Dean for Research of the College of Science from 2014 to 17. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation or the National Institutes of Health continuously since 1982.