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Randles Named an MIT Technology Review Innovator Under 35

Her research is attempting to model how blood, particles and cells travel through our veins and arteries

Amanda Randles, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Duke University, has been named one of this year’s “Innovators Under 35” by the editors of MIT Technology Review.

For nearly two decades, the publication has selected exceptionally talented young innovators whose work they believe has the greatest potential to transform the world. Previous winners include Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the cofounders of Google; Mark Zuckerberg, the cofounder of Facebook; Max Levchin, the cofounder of PayPal; and three of Randles’s colleagues at Duke engineering: Jennifer West, Nimmi Ramanujam and Jonathan Viventi.

“There are so many amazing people who have been given this recognition,” said Randles, who joined Duke’s faculty in 2015. “It’s an amazing honor to be on the same list as all of them.”

Randles’s research is attempting to model how blood, particles and cells travel through our veins and arteries. Her specialty lies in writing code for supercomputers with thousands of processors that work in parallel. By splitting the computational tasks among them simultaneously, Randles can cut calculations that would otherwise take weeks down to days or even hours.

The code that Randles is cultivating is named HARVEY after William Harvey, who made the first known complete, detailed description of the body's circulatory system. The program creates 3D models of a patient’s specific blood-flow dynamics. After several successes modeling simplified versions, Randles is seeking to add more complicated variables like deformable cells and larger volumes of blood flow.

With these advances, Randles hopes to soon begin making a real medical impact. She has partnered with pediatric cardiologists at Duke Health to obtain a large dataset of cardiovascular scans and surgical outcomes. Her goal is to soon begin modeling treatment options for individual patients to help surgeons plan complicated, life-saving surgeries. She is also working to add cancerous cells to her model in an attempt to track their movement and predict likely sites for them to metastasize.

“I’ve devoted the past several years to developing these 3D models of the cardiovascular system,” said Randles. “Now I want to focus on using my work to make a medical impact, and to begin helping real people.”