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2024 Class of SIAM Fellows: Aaron L. Fogelson

April 4, 2024

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) has honored Aaron L. Fogelson's distinguished work with its fellows program.


This year's 26 esteemed fellows were nominated in recognition of their outstanding research and service to the community. Through their various contributions, SIAM Fellows form a crucial group of individuals helping to advance the fields of applied mathematics, computational science, and data science.

A professor of mathematics at the U, Fogelson, who lists his research interests as mathematical physiology, modeling of blood clotting, gels and viscoelastic fluids and numerical solution of partial differential equations (PDEs), is being recognized by SIAM for his pioneering work on mathematical modeling and numerical methods for platelet aggregation and blood clotting.

"Clotting is an extremely complex process with physical, chemical, and cell biological components which is essential to maintaining the integrity of our circulatory system," he writes on his faculty profile. "When it malfunctions the consequences can be dire, including heart attack and stroke. Clotting is subject to intense research by laboratory and medical scientists but its complexity makes it very difficult to think through how it works or to make predictions about how well medical interventions to treat clotting problems will work. That is where mathematics and the work I do comes in."

On his lab's website, Fogelson writes, "Because transmural pressure differences vary greatly in the circulatory system and because blood flowing at different speeds through vessels of widely varying diameter leads to great variation in shear stress, the challenges of forming a blood clot to stop the outflow of blood differ substantially in different vascular beds. The system that has evolved to cope with these disparate challenges involves the aggregation of cells (platelets) and the formation of fibrous protein gel (fibrin). In addition, there is a complex, powerful, and tightly regulated enzyme network (the coagulation system) involving reactions on the surfaces of activated platelets, that leads to production of an enzyme, thrombin, that is key both in activating platelets so they can cohere to one another and in forming the protein fibrin from which the fibrin mesh is constructed."

40 Years of Modeling Clotting

The Fogelson research group has been developing models of many of the disparate aspects of blood clotting for close to 40 years. "We have built and analyzed models based on PDEs, ODEs [ordinary differential equations], or SDEs [stochastic differential equations] and, as needed, we have developed novel numerical methods with which to study the PDE-based models," writes Fogelson.

Projects of current interest in this research space includes, first, developing ODE-based compartment models of platelet deposition and coagulation under flow that treat developing thrombi as porous materials and which can track resulting flow, the growth of aggregates, and the biochemistry of platelet signaling and coagulation from the initiation of clot formation through vessel occlusion. The goal is a high-throughput simulation tool that will allow extensive investigation of model behavior as model parameters and other inputs are varied to reflect different physiological situations and disease states.

A second project of interest is integrating the Fogelson lab's models of fibrin polymerization with models of platelet deposition and coagulation under flow during arterial thrombosis, to produce a more comprehensive model of the clot formation process.

Fogelson has been a faculty member at the U since 1986 after earning his PhD at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University and working as a post doctoral researcher at first the University of California, Berkeley and then the Courant Institute. In addition to his faculty position in the U's Department of Mathematics, he is adjunct professor of biomedical engineering, and was Associate Dean for Research of the College of Science in the period 2014-17. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and/or the National Institutes of Health continuously since 1982.
Read about all 26 SIAM fellows announced here.

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