DR. ROBYN J. BARST PEDIATRIC PH RESEARCH AND MENTORING FUND GRANT WINNER 2015

Vitaly Oleg Kheyfets, PhDVitaly Oleg Kheyfets, PhD

Assistant Research Professor, Medicine
University of Colorado Denver|Anschutz Medical Campus
Title: “The Cause and Effect of Decreased Wall Shear Stress in Pediatric Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension”
Term: December 1, 2015- November 30, 2016

Cordelia’s Pediatric PH Research and Mentoring Grant

This Barst Fund Award was made possible through a generous, anonymous donation in honor of pediatric PH patient Cordelia.

Summary of Research Project:

Pulmonary Hypertension is a disease associated with an increase in pulmonary arterial pressure, which leads to heart failure. Endothelial cells, arterial cells that are in contact with blood, are partially responsible for regulating blood flow by releasing chemicals that dilate the vessel to maintain normal pressure. The friction forces of passing blood must remain high in order for them to work properly. Previous studies have shown that these forces are decreased in pulmonary hypertension. However, no one knows why the force is decreased or exactly what it does to the cells when they are in the body. One experiment, where these cells were isolated from the body, showed that decreasing this force caused the cells to change shape and function. This study proposes a two-step approach: (1) develop a mathematical model of the pulmonary arteries and blood flow to determine what causes the force acting on the cells to decrease; and (2) perform a biochemical analysis of the blood to see what impact this decrease has had on the endothelial cells. While PH is more prominent among children, most ongoing research is targeted towards adults. Successfully carrying out this project could lead to 3 important developments: (1) understanding the mechanical cause of blood flow forces on endothelial cells; (2) identifying the biochemical result of cells that are subjected to abnormal flow conditions in children; and (3) creating a blood test to determine the health of the artery in children.

Curriculum Vitae

Education/Training

2000-2004: BS in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
2005-2011: PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
2011-2013: Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
2013-2014: Postdoctoral Fellowship in Bioengineering at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Center

Honors/Awards

2015: Work Featured on Pulmonary Circulation Cover Photo
2014: Editors’ Choice Top Papers of 2013 (J. Biomech. Eng):
Kheyfets, V.O., and Kieweg, S.L. Experimental and Numerical Models of Three-Dimensional Gravity-Driven Flow of Shear-Thinning Polymer Solutions Used in Vaginal Delivery of Microbicides, J. Biomech. Eng. 135(6): 61009-14, 2013.
2012: Mimics Innovation Award (2nd Place)
2009: NSF Graduate K-12 Teaching Fellowship (GK-12)
2009: Recipient of Wilburt E. & Mina Wyatt Memorial Scholarship (Department of Mechanical Engineering)

Research Support

Rochal Industries, LLP     Ender Finol (PI)     06/13/2013
Mechanical Testing of Amphiphillic Biomaterials
Role: Co-investigator

Selected Publications

  1. Kheyfets, V.O., and Kieweg, S.L. Derivation and numerical simulation of the free-surface spreading of an Ellis fluid for microbicide application. Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics. 202, 88-98, 2013.
  2. Kheyfets, V.O., and Kieweg, S.L. Experimental and Numerical Models of Three-Dimensional Gravity-Driven Flow of Shear-Thinning Polymer Solutions Used in Vaginal Delivery of Microbicides, J. Biomech. Eng. 135(6): 61009-14, 2013.
  3. V.O. Kheyfets, L. Rios, D. Evans, T. Smith, T.Schroeder, J.Mueller, S.Murali, D.Lasorda, A.Zikos, J.Spotti, J. J. Reilly Jr., E.A. Finol. Patient-specific computational modeling of blood flow in the pulmonary arterial circulation, Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine. 120(2): 88-101, 2015.
  4. V.O. Kheyfets, Thirugnanasambandam M, L. Rios, D. Evans, T. Smith, T.Schroeder, J.Mueller, S.Murali, D.Lasorda, A.Zikos, J.Spotti, J. J. Reilly Jr., E.A. Finol. The Role of WSS in the Assessment of Right Ventricle Hydraulic Workload, Pulmonary Circulation. 5(1): 90-100, 2015.
  5. Kheyfets, V.O., O’Dell, W., Smith, T., Reilly Jr. J.J., Finol, E.A. Considerations for numerical modeling of the pulmonary circulation – A Review with a focus on pulmonary hypertension, J. Biomech. Eng. 135(6): 61009-15, 2013.
  6. M. Schafer, C. Podgorski, J. Browning, J.D. Schroeder, V.O. Kheyfets, R. Shandas, J. K. Buckner, K. Hunter, J.R. Hertzberg, B.E. Fenster. Vorticity is a Marker of Diastolic Ventricular Interdependency in Pulmonary Hypertension
  7. V. O. Kheyfets, Michal Schafer, Joyce D. Schroeder, Jean Hertzberg, J Kern Buckner, Kendal S. Hunter, Brett E. Fenster, Robin Shandas. Regional Abnormalities in Wall Shear Stress (WSS) Acting on the Vascular Endothelium Can Lead To Vascular Dysfunction
  8. Vitaly O. Kheyfets, Michal Schafer, Joyce D. Schroeder, Jean Hertzberg, J Kern Buckner, Kendal S. Hunter, Robin Shandas, Brett E. Fenster, Pulmonary Vascular Resistance Estimate from 4D Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients with Adult Pulmonary Hypertension: A Preliminary Study
  9. U. Truong, S. Patel, B. Fonseca, J. Dunning, A. Barker, V.O. Kheyfets, D. D. Ivy, R. Shandas, and K. Hunter. Non-invasive determination of right ventricular-vascular coupling in children and adolescents with pulmonary hypertension
  10. V.O. Kheyfets, J. Dunning, U. Truong, D. Ivy, K. Hunter, R. Shandas. Assessment of NT-proBNP as a Measure of Vascular/Ventricular Function in Pediatric PAH
  11. V.O. Kheyfets, C. Sucharov, U. Truong, J. Dunning, K. Hunter, D. Ivy, S. Miyamoto, R. Shandas. Circulating miRNAs in Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension are correlated with Clinical Markers of Vascular Function (Preliminary Findings)
  12. V. O. Kheyfets, Michal Schafer, Joyce D. Schroeder, Jean Hertzberg, J Kern Buckner, Kendal S. Hunter, Brett E. Fenster, Robin Shandas. Regional Abnormalities in Wall Shear Stress (WSS) Acting on the Vascular Endothelium Can Lead To Vascular Dysfunction
  13. M. Schafer, K. Hunter, D. Ivy, V.O. Kheyfets, R. Shandas, A. J. Barker, U. Truong. Characterization of MRI-driven Hemodynamic Data in Children with Pulmonary Hypertension
  14. M. Schafer, V.O. Kheyfets, R. Shandas, J.D. Schroeder, J. Dunning, C.A. Podgorski, J.D.K. Buckner, K. Hunter, B.E. Fenster. Main Pulmonary Arterial Wall Shear Stress Correlates with Invasive Hemodynamics and Stiffness in Pulmonary Hypertension