David Wootton

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Biomechanics

Dr. Wootton's team is a leader in the application of image-based computational mechanics to studying obstructive sleep apnea.  This research is currently funded by two NIH grants: a five-year project to study airway mechanics in obese children, and a  four-year project to develop functional mechanical models of the airway in girls with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).  Both studies are collaborations between the Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Department (Dr. Raanan Arens) at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, who provide us with medical images and clinical data from patients.  Other collaborators include the B’N FIT program to reduce childhood obesity (Dr. Jessica Reider) and the Medical Image Processing Group in the Department at the University of Pennsylvania (Dr. Jayaram Udupa). 

The Cooper Union research team develops and validates modeling methods for mechanical characterization of the airways based on clinical measurements of airway anatomy, respiratory flow rates, and airway collapsibility.  They use these methods to analyze data from individual patients, for statistical comparisons between patients with or without apnea, and responses to treatments.  So far three MS students, five undergraduate students, and two postdoctoral fellows have participated in the research, which have generated over $1M in grant funding and have led to four recent paper publications, 7 conference presentations and 5 invited seminars and workshops