W. A. "Tex" Moncrief, Jr. Endowment in Simulation-Based Engineering and Sciences - Endowed Chair No. 1
Director Willerson Center for Cardiovascular Modeling and Simulation
Professor Biomedical Engineering
Professor Sacks is a world authority on cardiovascular modeling and simulation, particularly on developing patient-specific, simulation-based approaches for the understanding and treatment of heart and heart valve diseases. Dr. Sacks was technical editor of the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, an inaugural fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society, a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He has received several awards, including the Van C. Mow Medal from the ASME Bioengineering Division, the 2008 Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award of the University of Pittsburgh, the 2008 Richard Skalak Distinguished Lectureship from Columbia University, and the 2008 SKT Lectureship from the City College of New York. In December 2006, Sacks was selected as one of the “Scientific American” 50 leaders in science and technology.
Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
M.S., Engineering Mechanics, Michigan State University
B.S. Engineering Mechanics, Michigan State University
Dr. Sacks’ research interests include modeling and simulation of the function of the heart and its valves using a multiscale modeling at the cellular, tissue, and organ levels. His work addresses both fundamental questions and clinical applications utilizing state-of-art computational methods and imaging technologies. In particular, his work focusses on developing patient-specific, simulation-based approaches for the understanding and treatment of heart and heart valve diseases. His research is based on multi-scale modeling, quantification, and simulation of the biophysical behavior of the constituent cells and tissues and translation to the organ level in health, disease, and treatment. For example, he has developed novel non-invasive methods to quantify pre- and post-surgical state of the mitral valve from pre-surgical clinical images. He has determined how local stress environments of heart valve interstitial cells alter their biosynthetic responses in the context of altered heart and valvular organ-level responses. His research also includes developing novel cardiac models to simulate growth and remodeling of the myocardium in pulmonary hypertension, the first full 3D approach for left ventricular myocardium mechanical behavior. Dr. Sacks is also active in modeling replacement heart valve materials and in understanding the in-vivo remodeling processes. Recent work has involved the use of neural network models for the simulation of the heart and heart valves.