Research Training Group 2154 - Materials for Brain

Mariya Pravdivtseva (at University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA)

Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research, Prof. Oliver Wieben and Prof. Michael Speidel, University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA (20.05.-28.07.2019)

My project focuses on the study of the aneurysm treatment with flow diverter stents using patient-specific models. Aneurysms are pathological changes of normal blood vessels where a “sack” forms. These “sacks” are less robust and may rupture – an event which is often fatal when taking place in the brain. These sacks are treated by filling them up (e.g. with wire), cutting them off (clipping), or by closing them off from the blood stream by putting an extra tube into the vessel, a so-called stent. Flow diverter stents reduce the flow into the aneurysm sack, this is the one of the reasons of aneurysm treatment. Thus it would be good to measure the flow – I do that by using X-ray methods (DSA) and MRI. Such devices are best tested in artificial reproductions of the blood vesels which we call models. However, the experiments in vitro have a lot of pitfalls, especially in combination with MRI and DSA. The correct performance of the flow experiments (including flow conditions and reproducibility) in vitro is a key factor in assessing the flow diversion efficacy of stents. This is why I visited the laboratories of Prof. Wieben and Prof. Speidel. They specialized on MRI and DSA techniques and on flow experiments in vitro. The main goal of my research stay abroad was to get confidence and knowledge for performing the flow experiments. Despite that MRI and DSA are based on different physical phenomena, two hosting laboratories were located in one institute. In this way, I got a chance to improve my experimental workflow in both areas. During my time in the USA, I did not just learn how to do experiments, but I was able to complete a small project which is directly related to my Ph.D. thesis. I brought two models with me from Kiel. We incorporated them to the existing flow scheme and investigated the flow with both MRI and DSA. The groups of Prof. Wieben and Prof. Speidel gave me great support. Due to regular weekly meetings with my hosting supervisors and their general availability over my stay, I always felt enormous concern and support. Moreover, I was a full member of their teams! The friendliness, warm welcome and invaluable help of my international colleagues was fantastic! They not only helped me with my scientific work but also shared with me tips for everyday life in Madison. Thanks to them my experience of living abroad passed without stress and was full of joy!
Learned methods and gained experience will undoubtedly improve my future work in science. In addition to fascinating scientific communication, I made new friends, improved conversational English and got to know a different culture. I can not describe in words, how grateful I am, that we have such a remarkable opportunity to work abroad during our qualification program. I highly encourage everyone taking a chance of doing research abroad, it allows you to look at life from a different angle and develop yourself into a more confident and open-minded person.

WisconsinMAriya Wisc