Faculty-Affiliate, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Soft-tissue biomechanics, cardiovascular physiology, pulmonary hypertension, vascular biology, mathematical modeling, parameter estimation & optimization.
The research goal of Valdez-Jasso’s group focuses on soft-tissue biomechanics and multi-scale mathematical modeling of organ and tissue function, particularly as they pertain to understanding the ventriculo-vascular adaptations to pulmonary hypertension (PH). PH is a progressive vasculopathy that commonly results in intractable right-heart failure and premature death. Each year, nearly 500,000 patients are hospitalized in the United States with PH. Most importantly, transplantation of the heart and/or lung currently remains the only curative treatment option. The DVJ Research Group’s immediate research interests rests with understanding the dynamic vascular remodeling process in PH at the tissue level and to determine its effects at the system level. The experimental findings are then incorporated into mechanistic mathematical models for testable quantitative formulations of organ and tissue function.
Valdez-Jasso received her Undergraduate and Masters degrees in Applied Mathematics, and her doctoral degree in Biomathematics, all from the Department of Mathematics at North Carolina State University. Her graduate thesis, which was recognized for its excellence with a Lucas Research Award, focused on modeling approaches to understanding the dynamic pressure-area relationship of systemic arteries. During her postdoctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she was an American Heart Association postdoctoral fellow, a member of the Vascular Medicine Institute, and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, she investigated the tissue structure and biomechanics of the normal and pressure-overloaded right ventricle.
As an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Valdez-Jasso established her research laboratory in soft-tissue biomechanics and in multi-scale mathematical modeling of tissue function, particularly as they pertain to understanding the vascular and right-ventricular adaptations to pulmonary hypertension. An American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant currently supports her work. She has been an active Faculty mentor of the Minority Engineering Recruitment and Retention Program in the College of Engineering at UIC and is the vice-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering Bioengineering Division.