Soroosh Sanatkhani, a bioengineering graduate student working in the lab of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Sanjeev Shroff, PhD, was named the 2018 Wes Pickard Fellow by the Department of Bioengineering. Recipients of this award are selected by the department chair and chosen based on academic merit.
Mr. Sanatkhani began his studies in automotive engineering at Iran University of Science & Technology. He then joined the graduate program in Mechanical Engineering at Sharif University of Technology where he focused on bio-fluids, fluid dynamics, and hemodynamics – the study of the dynamics of blood flow. This research helped build his background in bioengineering, and after receiving his master’s degree, he was awarded a scholarship to join the Swanson School of Engineering at Pitt.
Mr. Sanatkhani is involved in multiple cardiovascular research projects under the supervision of Dr. Shroff, Distinguished Professor and Gerald E. McGinnis Chair of Bioengineering at Pitt, and Prahlad G. Menon, PhD, adjunct assistant professor of bioengineering. His primary research is focused on hemodynamics indices and shape-based models of the left atrial appendage (LAA) of the heart to enhance stroke prediction in atrial fibrillation. In 2017, he was selected as the Swanson School’s Berenfield Fellow, which helped fund foundational elements of his current research.
“In this study I plan to create two novel, patient-specific indices to improve the prediction of stroke in AF patients,” said Mr. Sanatkhani. “The first index is a hemodynamics-based calculation of residence time in LAA, which represents the probability of clot formation in the LAA and consequently a metric for stroke risk. The second index will quantify the LAA appearance (shape), which will help us correlate the probability of stroke with geometrical features of LAA.”
According to Mr. Sanatkhani, this project should result in a new and significantly improved method to predict stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation, which will enhance the clinical management and decrease the risk of stroke.
“The Wes Pickard Fellowship will be a valuable complement to the mentorship and training I receive from Drs. Shroff and Menon,” said Mr. Sanatkhani. “My exposure to cardiovascular research throughout these projects has helped me realize that I would like to dedicate my research career to this field. This fellowship will help me continue my ongoing project on improving stroke risk prediction in atrial fibrillation.”
About Wesley Pickard:
Mr. Pickard is an alumnus of the Swanson School of Engineering and earned his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering at Pitt in 1961. He retired from Synergy Inc, a Washington, DC-based consulting firm as the CFO. Over a period of 33 years, Mr. Pickard helped the company grow from five staff members to more than 200 with revenues of approximately $25 million when it was sold in 2005. His support of Pitt includes the establishment of this fellowship, and he was recently inducted into the Cathedral of Learning Society at Pitt—a giving society that honors some of our most generous alumni.
In 2010 Mr. Pickard was named the University of Pittsburgh Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Distinguished Alumnus. He also received the Pitt Volunteer of Excellence Award in 2012 and was named a “Significant Sig” in 2017 by Sigma Chi Fraternity. In 2018 he was selected as the overall honoree representing the entire Swanson School at the 54th annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet.
Congratulations, Mr. Sanatkhani!
Illustration: University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering.