New Jersey Institute of Technology Professor Awarded Grant To Study Sepsis

NEWARK, Nov. 29--Daniel Goldman, Ph.D., a professor of mathematics and biomedical engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology, was recently awarded a Whitaker Foundation grant for $208,000 to study sepsis.

Sepsis is a condition in which a bacterial infection triggers an immune response that harms the body’s organs and tissues. Each year in the United States, about half a million people get sepsis; 25 percent of them die from it.

Goldman will use the grant money to develop computer models that show how sepsis disturbs normal blood flow and kills tissue. The Whitaker Foundation, based in Arlington, Va., promotes health by awarding grants that lead to advancements in medicine and rehabilitation.

“The most important thing I want to find is how sepsis affects oxygen delivery to cells and kills tissue,” Goldman says. “Sepsis causes a huge number of deaths, and doctors don’t understand how it damages people.”

Although common, sepsis is indeed poorly understood. There are few effective treatments for sepsis, and many new treatments have failed. Most sepsis patients are elderly and have complicating conditions. But sepsis is also a serious problem with pediatric and post-surgical patients.

To better understand sepsis, Goldman, using available experimental data, will develop mathematical and computational models. The models will use geometric reconstructions of blood vessels in septic tissue. They will also perform computer simulations of blood flow and oxygen transport during sepsis. The models will in turn give medical researchers the first complete, three-dimensional pictures of blood flow and oxygen transport in septic tissue.

Goldman also intends to determine how decreased oxygen delivery caused by sepsis damages tissues. Once his simulations are running, he hopes to evaluate them and develop new treatments for sepsis patients.

“I’m very excited about the grant and the research it will support,” Goldman says. “Once I understand how sepsis affects tissues, doctors could be able to develop new treatment strategies for patients -- hopefully treatments that will save lives.”


NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar astrophysics. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as a "perennially most wired" university.

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