Semester Projects

Analysis and Quantification of Topological Differences in the Cerebrovascular Network

Project description [pdf]


The brain is vascularized by a complex yet highly structured network of cerebral vessels. The network architecture has evolved to dynamically regulate the nutrient supply of the central nervous system in order to meet the current metabolic demand. An in-depth understanding of the (micro-)vascular structure is required in many research areas. As an example, knowledge of the entire cerebrovascular network down to capillary level is required for gaining insight into blood flow dynamics and its regulation by numerical simulations. Likewise, it has been shown that the cerebrovascular system plays a crucial role for the severe symptoms of many neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer's disease). This underlines the need for a better knowledge of the vascular network's topology in the normal and pathological tissue in order to increase our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms.

Current state of the art imaging modalities resolve the angioarchitecture down to the capillary level (see Figures). The underlying vascular network can efficiently be described by fitting a graph-based model to the high-resolution image. This model allows to statistically analyze various morphological and topological properties, e.g., distribution of segment diameter and branch lengths, bifurcation angles, tortuosity, etc. The semester project will focus on the statistical analysis and quantification of topological differences between the arterial and venous system. These differences have hardly been analyzed systematically in the literature but are of great importance for different medical questions.