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Personal profile

Quote

"Computational modeling has critically advanced our understanding of growth and remodeling of engineered cardiovascular tissues."

Research profile

Sandra Loerakker is an assistant professor at the TU/e department of Biomedical Engineering (research group Soft Tissue Engineering and Mechanobiology). Her expertise is in modeling the mechanobiology of native and engineered tissues using integrated computational and experimental methods. The ultimate goal of her research is to obtain a fundamental understanding of the biological mechanisms responsible for soft tissue development, homeostasis, and disease, and to translate those findings into novel therapies in the field of regenerative medicine. She primarily focuses on understanding how mechanical factors drive soft tissue growth and remodeling at different spatial and temporal scales.

Examples of her research include the computational analysis of growth and remodeling of native cardiovascular tissues; the analysis and prediction of in vivo remodeling of engineered cardiovascular tissues; systematic investigations of the potential impact of implant design on the remodeling of engineered tissues; the establishment of in vitro platforms to experimentally analyze soft tissue growth and remodeling; and the development of computational models to understand and predict the interplay between mechanics and cell-cell signaling in growth and remodeling.

Academic background

Sandra Loerakker was trained in Biomedical Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) where she obtained both her BSc and MSc degrees cum laude. Her MSc project concerned the development of a computational model to analyze flow fields in a failing heart supported by a ventricular assist device. In 2007, she started her PhD research on the etiology and early detection of deep pressure ulcers in skeletal muscle, using a combination of computational and experimental methods. She performed part of this research at Northwestern University (USA) and in collaboration with the University of Alberta (Canada). After defending her PhD thesis at TU/e in 2011, she continued as a postdoctoral researcher in heart valve biomechanics and mechanobiology. In 2015, she was appointed as assistant professor in Modeling in Mechanobiology at the TU/e department of Biomedical Engineering, focusing on understanding the mechanobiology of native and engineered tissues using integrated computational and experimental methods. From May 2016 – April 2017, supported by a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship, she was a visiting assistant professor at Stanford University (USA). In 2018, she received an ERC Starting Grant to explore the interplay between mechanics and cell-cell signaling in the context of cardiovascular regeneration.

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Research Output 2007 2019

Biomechanics and modeling of tissue-engineered heart valves

Ristori, T., van Kelle, A. J. M., Baaijens, F. & Loerakker, S., 9 Apr 2019, Advances in heart valve biomechanics: valvular physiology, mechanobiology, and bioengineering. Sacks, M. & Liao, J. (eds.). Cham: Springer, p. 413-446 34 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

Biomechanics
Tissue engineering
Tissue
Collagen
Heart valve prostheses

Increased cell traction-induced prestress in dynamically cultured microtissues

van Kelle, M. A. J., Khalil, N., Foolen, J., Loerakker, S. & Bouten, C. V. C., 12 Mar 2019, In : Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. 7, 11 p., 41

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
File

Mechanically driven adaptation in engineered cardiovascular tissues

van Kelle, A. J., 31 Jan 2019, Eindhoven: Technische Universiteit Eindhoven. 134 p.

Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)Academic

Heart Valves
Blood Vessels

Computational analysis of cell-mediated remodeling of collagenous tissues

Ristori, T., 5 Mar 2018, Eindhoven: Technische Universiteit Eindhoven. 177 p.

Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)Academic

Open Access
File
11 Citations (Scopus)

Computational modeling guides tissue-engineered heart valve design for long-term in vivo performance in a translational sheep model

Emmert, M. Y., Schmitt, B. A., Loerakker, S., Sanders, B., Spriestersbach, H., Fioretta, E. S., Bruder, L., Brakmann, K., Motta, S. E., Lintas, V., Dijkman, P. E., Frese, L., Berger, F., Baaijens, F. P. T. & Hoerstrup, S. P., 9 May 2018, In : Science Translational Medicine. 10, 440, 13 p., eaan4587

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Heart Valves
Sheep
Tissue Engineering
Bioengineering
Heart Valve Prosthesis

Prizes

Predicting cardiovascular regeneration

Sandra Loerakker (Recipient), 2018

Recognition: ERCStartingScientific

Regeneration
Tissue Engineering
Heart Valves
Biocompatible Materials
Population Groups

Courses

Numerical analysis of continua

1/09/13 → …

Course

Project Biomechanics

1/09/14 → …

Course

Student theses

A constitutive material model to describe the mechanical behavior of human skin in shear, tensile and indentation tests

Author: Rooijakkers, T., 31 Aug 2017

Supervisor: Oomens, C. (Supervisor 1), Loerakker, S. (Supervisor 2), Lopata, R. (Supervisor 2) & Soetens, J. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master

Biochemical muscle damage markers for early detection of deep pressure ulcers: a pilot study and a kinetics model

Author: Huisman, E., 28 Feb 2010

Supervisor: Baaijens, F. (Supervisor 1), Oomens, C. (Supervisor 2), Bouten, C. (Supervisor 2), Loerakker, S. (Supervisor 2), Seelen, H. (Supervisor 2) & Glatz, J. F. (External person) (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master

Causes and consequences of collagen architecture remodeling in human native heart valves: temporal changes from the fetal to the adult heart valve

Author: Oomen, P., 31 Mar 2014

Supervisor: Baaijens, F. (Supervisor 1), Bouten, C. (Supervisor 2), Loerakker, S. (Supervisor 2), Bovendeerd, P. (Supervisor 2) & van Donkelaar, C. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master

Development of a finite element spine model to simulate different scoliosis treatment scenarios

Author: van der Meer, R., 30 Apr 2016

Supervisor: van Rietbergen, B. (Supervisor 1), Ito, K. (Supervisor 2), Arts, J. (Supervisor 2), Roth, A. (Supervisor 2) & Loerakker, S. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master

Effects of mechanical constraints on cell-generated stress and collagen remodeling in statically cultured tissues

Author: van Kelle, A., 30 Apr 2014

Supervisor: Bouten, C. (Supervisor 1), Baaijens, F. (Supervisor 2), van Rietbergen, B. (Supervisor 2), Loerakker, S. (Supervisor 2) & van Loosdregt, I. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master