Morphoelastic Models for Contraction of Burn Injuries
Daan Smits

Supervisor TU Delft: Fred Vermolen

start of the project: October 2018

The Master project has been finished in September 2019 by the completion of the Masters Thesis and a final presentation has been given.

For working address etc. we refer to our alumnipage.

Summary of the master project:
Severe burn injuries are often characterised by the occurrence of contractures and/or hypertrophic scars. Skin contraction takes place as a result of skin cells (fibroblasts) that pull on their surroundings by which the skin locally contracts. If the fibroblasts disappear as a result of programmed cell death (apoptosis), then the skin should be reshaped back to the initial state. If this does not happen, then, the contraction is permanent, which can cause loss of mobility to the patient. A permanent contraction that causes loss of mobility is commonly referred to as a contracture.

Standard (linear) elasticity models cannot be used to model permanent shape changes of tissue. Therefore, we are going to use morphoelasticity, which is an approach that is commonly used to model growth of materials, such as tissues. Possible applications are modelling permanent wound contraction (Koppenol & Vermolen, Hall) or growth of organs (Gorieli), or tumor development.

In this study, we will look at numerical methods for morphoelasticity, as well as a mathematical analysis of the model equations. Our objective is to use the developed mathematical insights to improve the current modelling framework for simulating burn injuries using a morphoelastic formalism.

Contact information: Kees Vuik

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