Matt Wilhelm

Matt Wilhelm
Mentor: Dr. Walter O'Dell
College of Medicine
 
"In order to fully understand the workings and underpinnings of the fields of sciences, to discover the ever important gift of deep scientific reasoning, and to apply my skills toward attaining tangible results, I longed to apply myself to research. Medical imaging and radiation research appealed to me through it's mysterious components, and promising applications in future medical work."

Major

Biology

Minor

Anthropology

Research Interests

  • Medical Imaging
  • Radiation Oncology

Academic Awards

  • University Scholars Program
  • Jacksonville Meninak Leadership Grant
  • Comcast Leaders and Achievers
  • Radiation Research Society Junior SIT Member

Organizations

  • Pi Kappa Phi
  • UF Arts in Health
  • Catholic Gators

Volunteer

  • UF Health Department of Radiology
  • Jacksonville Homeless Outreach
  • Wildlife Action, Inc.

Hobbies and Interests

  • Weightlifting
  • Reading on the Beach
  • Landscaping and Gardening
  • Biking and Running

Research Description

Quantifying Lung Vascular Response to Radiation

Detailed characterization of pulmonary vascular anatomy has important applications for the diagnosis and management of a variety of vascular diseases. Of particular importance to our groups are vascular changes in response to radiation exposure. More accurate quantification of the vascular tree structure would also enhance our ability to understand the biological and biomechanical underpinnings of these diseases. The lungs are highly sensitive to radiation due to a large density of vessels and high oxygen concentration. Following radiation, acute endothelial cell damage and inflammatory response leads to blockage of the arterial lumen starting with the small arterioles. This subsequent increase in pulmonary arterial pressure further damages vascular endothelium, leading to progressive occlusion of ever larger arterioles creating an unfavorable positive feedback scenario. Our lab works primarily with 3D radiation dose distributions and x-ray computed tomography (CT) chest scans acquired pre and post-radiation exposure in patients. Our lab has developed methods to quantify changes in pulmonary vascular structure from 3D CT scans that we have applied successfully to human and animal models. We employ these same tools to quantify progressive pruning of small branches, as evident in radii histograms and other visual tools.