A Virtual Placenta Model
Romina is working on the development of a virtual placenta model to understand the mechanism of oxygen transport from the mother to the fetus. Due to ethical and moral constrains, the placenta cannot be analyzed in vivo but in situ after delivery. In order to understand the pathologies of the human placenta, one must first categorized the normal architecture and spatial arrangement of the villous tree. The geometry of the terminal villi and corresponding fetal vessels, which are the sites of diffusional exchange, are to be reconstructed from Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopic (CLSM) images. Afterwards, finite element analyzes will be performed to test the different parameters affecting placental efficiency.
This project is a collaboration between the Engineering Department and the CTR (Centre for Trophoblast Research) in the Physiology, Development and Neuroscience Department, under the supervision of Dr. Michelle Oyen and Prof. Graham Burton, respectively.