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John S. Wilson, M.D., Ph.D. - VCU College of Engineering. Richmond, VA, US

John S. Wilson, M.D., Ph.D. John S. Wilson, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Pauley Heart Center | B.S. Engineering, Baylor University | M.D., UT Southwestern Medical Center | Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, Yale University | VCU College of Engineering


Cardiovascular Mechanics & Imaging Lab: developing MRI quantification of patient-specific mechanics for improved cardiovascular diagnostics


Dr. Wilson has a multidisciplinary background in medicine and biomedical engineering, including training in cardiovascular biomechanics, magnetic resonance imaging, and computational growth and remodeling simulation. His primary research interests are in the clinical translation of non-invasive techniques for improving the early diagnosis and risk assessment of aortic aneurysms, dissections, and other vasculopathies. He joined the VCU faculty in August 2018 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Pauley Heart Center.

Areas of Expertise (4)

Cardiovascular Biomechanics

Aortic Aneurysms & Dissections

Cardiovascular MRI

Growth & Remodeling

Education (5)

Emory University: Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, Radiology/Cardiology 2018

Yale University: PhD, Biomedical Engineering 2015

Yale University: MS, Biomedical Engineering 2013

UT Southwestern: MD, Medicine 2007

Baylor University: BS, Engineering 2003

Research Focus (3)

Regional Quantification of Patient-Specific Aortic Kinematics using DENSE MRI

I am currently developing a novel application of DENSE (Displacement ENcoding with Stimulated Echoes) MRI to quantify the regional kinematics (displacement and strain) of the aortic wall during the cardiac cycle. In combination with other MRI techniques to assess bloodflow and tissue composition, these unique patient-specific strain distributions may be used to better understand how the spatially heterogeneous mechanical properties of the aorta change due to aging and disease, to improve advanced biomechanical models of the aorta, and ultimately to aid in the early diagnosis and risk assessment of aortic pathologies like aneurysms and dissections.

High Risk Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm & Dissection

Biomechanical Characterization of Surgically-Excised Aortic Tissue

By utilizing in vitro biaxial mechanical testing and immunohistochemistry to quantify the regional mechanical and biological properties of donated human aortic tissue following surgery and autopsy, we aim to better understand the regional heterogeneities in aortic biomechanical properties unique to each patient and to correlate these properties to our in vivo pre-surgical magnetic resonance imaging.

Computational Growth & Remodeling Simulations of Aortic Aneurysms

We develop novel finite-element growth and remodeling (G&R) simulations of the aortic wall that track the evolving regional production, degradation, and remodeling of the primary load-bearing constituents of the wall (i.e., collagen, elastin, and smooth muscle) during the initiation and progression of aortic aneurysms. By developing novel parameterized constitutive laws that govern the locally evolving properties and turnover over these key constituents, G&R models provide a useful platform to propose new mechanisms, explore interrelationships of key parameters, and test competing hypotheses related to aneurysmal growth and rupture-risk.

Courses (3)

Cardiovascular Dynamics (EGRB 611)

Fall 2019

Biomechanics (EGRB 604)

Spring 2020

Computational Methods I

Fall 2020 / Spring 2021

Selected Articles (8)

In vivo quantification of regional circumferential Green strain in the thoracic and abdominal aorta by 2D spiral cine DENSE MRI

Journal Of Biomechanical Engineering

Wilson JS, Zhong X, Hair JB, Taylor WR, Oshinski JN

2018, PMID: 30029261 DOI: 10.1115/1.4040910

Demonstration of circumferential heterogeneity in displacement and strain in the abdominal aortic wall by spiral cine DENSE MRI

Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Iffrig E, Wilson JS, Zhong X, Oshinski JN

2018, PMID: 30295345 DOI: 10.1002/jmri.26304

Correlation of wall microstructure and heterogeneous distributions of strain in evolving murine abdominal aortic aneurysms

Cardiovascular Engineering Technology

Wilson JS, Bersi MR, Li G, Humphrey JD

2017, PMID: 28378165 DOI: 10.1007/s13239-017-0301-6

A computational model of biochemomechanical effects of intraluminal thrombus on the enlargement of abdominal aortic aneurysms

Annals of Biomedical Engineering

Virag L, Wilson JS, Humphrey JD, Karšaj

2015, PMID: 26070724 DOI: 10.1007/s10439-015-1354-z

Evolving anisotropy and degree of elastolytic insult in abdominal aortic aneurysms: potential clinical relevance?

Journal of Biomechanics

Wilson JS, Humphrey JD

2014, PMID: 25086482 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2014.07.003

Biochemomechanics of intraluminal thrombus in abdominal aortic aneurysms

ASME Journal of Biomechanical Engineering

Wilson JS, Virag L, Di Achille P, Karsaj I, Humphrey JD

2013, PMID: 23445056 DOI: 10.1115/1.4023437

Parametric study of effects of collagen turnover on the natural history of abdominal aortic aneurysms

Proc. Royal Soc A: Math Phys Eng Science

Wilson JS, Baek S, Humphrey JD

2013, PMID: 23633905 DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2012.0556

Importance of initial aortic properties on the evolving regional anisotropy, stiffness, and wall thickness of human abdominal aortic aneurysms

Journal of Royal Society Interface

Wilson JS, Baek S, Humphrey JD

2012, PMID: 22491975 DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2012.0097