Sandra Rugonyi, Ph.D., elected to the 2022 Class of the AIMBE College of Fellows

Sandra Rugonyi, Ph.D.

The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering has announced the election of Sandra Rugonyi, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering, to its 2022 Class of the AIMBE College of Fellows. Rugonyi was nominated, reviewed and elected by peers and members of the AIMBE College of Fellows for outstanding contributions to the biomechanics of cardiovascular development and advocating for inclusion and diversity in biomedical engineering.

The Rugonyi cardiovascular mechanics laboratory focuses on research at the interface of mechanics, biology, and medicine.

Rugonyi investigates cardiovascular mechanics, focusing on how blood flow influences the behavior and structure of the heart and vessel tissues leading to a healthy balance or progression of disease. She is particularly interested in the application of finite element methods and other numerical and computational techniques, as well as imaging and image analyses, to quantify and visualize the response of cardiovascular tissues to blood flow conditions. Dr. Rugonyi’s research projects involve investigating the effects of blood flow on heart embryonic and fetal development, congenital heart disease, aortic aneurysms, and vein biomechanics.

Innovative technological breakthroughs in Rugonyi’s group resulted in novel, pioneering development of dynamic image-based computational and mathematical models of the embryonic beating heart, as well as novel multiscale imaging approaches, to unravel the effects of normal and altered blood flow on heart tissues during fetal development and beyond. These technologies enable understanding and prediction of how blood flow regulates the development of an unborn baby’s heart and vasculature, and how perturbed blood flow in the baby, due to maternal and environmental influences, leads to cardiovascular disease including heart defects and increased risk of cardiovascular complications later in life.

Election to the AIMBE College of Fellows recognizes, in addition to important scientific contributions, advocacy for medical and biological engineering to advance society. Among Rugonyi’s activities in this arena is her co-creation, with Owen McCarty, Ph.D., and Monica Hinds, Ph.D., of an OHSU Biomedical Engineering undergraduate research program supported by the American Heart Association. She is also leading the creation, with Arash Kheradvar from UCI, of an OHSU-UCI high school summer research program that is targeting diverse students interested in STEM. This activity is supported by the National Science Foundation.

A formal induction ceremony will be held during AIMBE’s 2022 Annual Event on March 25.