Publication Date

Summer 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical Engineering


Anand K. Ramasubramanian


deformability, hematocrit, microfluidics, red blood cells, venous valve

Subject Areas

Biomedical engineering


Red blood cells (RBCs) are vital to sustaining life as they are necessary for microvascular oxygenation and tissue perfusion, as well as inflammation and hemostasis. RBC deformability plays a key role in their distribution in blood vessels, and hence directly influences pathophysiology of sickle cell disease and deep vein thrombosis. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that RBC deformability will affect their distribution in venous valve pockets, the location of venous thrombosis. To test this hypothesis, we used confined microfluidic flows to quantify RBC deformability, and manipulated membrane cholesterol to alter RBC deformability. The effect of RBC deformability changes on their distribution in venous valve mimics was assessed using an image-based quantification algorithm. Our data show that confined flows can be used to quantify deformability of RBCs, and that cholesterol depletion decreases deformability. Our data also show that cholesterol-induced deformability changes in RBC had a modest effect on RBC distribution at low Reynolds number but the differences were insignificant at high Reynolds number.

Available for download on Tuesday, April 25, 2023