A mechanical engineer by training, Arvind Santhanakrishnan, Ph.D., has experience in biomedical engineering projects. Within his lab, projects focus on mechanical modeling of physical systems such as cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. With the Institute for Translational and Emerging Research in Advanced Comparative Therapy or INTERACT, he foresees collaborating with the veterinary college and other partners across the nation who are interested in developing therapeutics and diagnostic methods that have a direct relevance to the bedside.
“OSU has a range of very specific and diverse expertise,” Santhanakrishnan said. “Establishing a convergence institute like INTERACT would help us to come together in a formal way but also in a more targeted community sense. Then I think we can foster very interesting ideas and find ways to bring our expertise together to build something better overall.”
Based on published data, Santhanakrishnan’s lab develops experimental and computational models to study diseases, like structural heart disease, for example.
“We don’t have an active way to see what is currently relevant,” he said. “Publications may not reflect what the current clinical needs are. They may have emerged into something different—slightly or even radically and we are not necessarily aware of that. Collaborating with researchers at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital would give us access to clinical data on echo cardiography, fluid flows, ultrasound modalities and so forth.
“I am also interested in medical device design. There is so much that can be done in that space and I feel we are still at the surface level. I think working collaboratively with clinicians, veterinary surgeons and engineers, we could really bring together new products, new devices that can be particularly beneficial.
“INTERACT is going to be a very unique eco system. If you think about institutes similar to this, it’s often housed in a medical school. With INTERACT, we are bringing in the animal space and the translation of that to people, which gives us a much broader reach. We have the knowhow, the technical expertise to develop animal models to study diseases that are potentially very relevant to humans. We have a very diverse expertise that may not be as accessible in just a medical hospital setting where it would be primarily humans.”
Santhanakrishnan’s lab is consistently funded by the National Science Foundation. His team has focused on the cardiovascular system, specifically how the flow inside the heart can be differentially impacted with structural heart diseases such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and obstructive cardiomyopathy.
“What we are seeing is that currently more embraced clinical indices may not work as well in these morphologically different disease conditions,” he said. “We may need to consider the shape, the size, and the internal volume of the ventricle before we can actually make a more accurate diagnosis of the severity of disease for diagnostic or treatment purposes.
“I am excited to see this synergistic initiative bring together people with widely different expertise but the same fundamental goal—improve our lives on a day to day basis. INTERACT will compel people to talk more about ideas that they have that could benefit from expertise they don’t have in their lab. There is absolutely no doubt that it’s going to be ten-fold better by having this opportunity to collaborate with people at Oklahoma State and beyond.”
Santhanakrishnan is an associate professor and the Caroll M. Leonard Professorship in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at OSU’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology.
The Institute for Translational and Emerging Research in Advanced Comparative Therapy (INTERACT) aims to fulfill One Health research by conducting parallel investigations in both humans and animals. INTERACT promotes interdisciplinary research within the veterinary college, across the OSU campus and throughout the state and nation by developing and translating discoveries into therapies for patients. INTERACT has faculty participants from almost all OSU colleges, industry experts, foundation partners, and personnel from other academic institutions around the country. For more information, visit INTERACT or contact email@example.com.
MEDIA CONTACT: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU College of Veterinary Medicine | 405-744-6740 | firstname.lastname@example.org