The University of Arizona has been an important center for research into microcirculation since 1967, when Paul C. Johnson came here as founding Head of the Department of Physiology. Theoretical approaches have been emphasized since the arrival in 1972 of Joseph F. Gross as Professor of Chemical Engineering. In 1979, Drs. Johnson and Gross received approval from the State legislature to create a faculty position for the interdisciplinary area of theoretical microcirculation, leading to the appointment of Timothy W. Secomb in 1981 as a member of the Arizona Research Laboratories, with joint appointments in Physiology and Mathematics. The reorganization of the Arizona Research Laboratories in 1983 led to the creation of the Microcirculation Division, directed by Dr. Gross. In 1989, the Division moved into a University-owned house at 1326 E. Mabel Street, strategically located between the Arizona Health Sciences Center and the main campus of the University. Dr. Secomb succeeded Dr. Gross as Director on July 1, 1997. In February 2008, the Division relocated to a house at 1527 E. Mabel Street.
The mission of the Microcirculation Division is to provide interdisciplinary research and educational programs, in which engineering and mathematical approaches are applied in physiology and other health sciences. The focus of research is on physiological transport, especially in the microcirculation, in normal and pathological conditions. Teaching activities include offering undergraduate and graduate courses and training graduate and postdoctoral students in the areas described above. This unique interdisciplinary focus of the Microcirculation Division builds on and enhances major strengths of the University of Arizona in related areas of physical sciences and health sciences.
Timothy W. Secomb, Ph.D., Professor and Director
Jonathan Alberding, Ph.D., Research Associate
Ardith El-Kareh, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor
Brendan Fry, Graduate Student in Applied Mathematics
Joseph F. Gross, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus
Denise Ravenwood, Administrative Assistant
Current research projects and collaborations
• Mechanics of blood flow in capillaries: effects of vessel wall properties (A.R. Pries, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin)
• Oxygen transport in tumors (M.W. Dewhirst, Duke University)
• Long-term structural adaptation of microvascular networks (A.R. Pries, S.J. Mentzer, Harvard Medical School)
• Oxygen transport in skeletal muscle
• Blood flow regulation (Julia Arciero, University of Pittsburgh; Tuhin Roy, Mayo Clinic)
• Mechanics of red blood cell motion in microvessels (Jared Barber, University of Pittsburgh)
• Cardiac mechanics (Michael Moulton, Department of Surgery)
• Pharmacodynamics of cancer chemotherapy drugs
• Tumor growth kinetics
Current funding sources
National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute
Selected recent publications
• Lanzen, J., Braun, R.D., Klitzman, B., Brizel, D., Secomb, T.W., Dewhirst, M.W. Direct demonstration of instabilities in oxygen concentrations within the extravascular compartment of an experimental tumor. Cancer Research, 66: 2219-2223 (2006).
• Hicks, K.O, Pruijn, F.B., Secomb, T.W., Hay, M.P., Hsu, R., Brown, J.M., Denny, W.A., Dewhirst, M.W., Wilson, W.R. Use of three-dimensional tissue cultures to model extravascular transport and predict in vivo activity of hypoxia targeted anticancer drugs. J. Nat. Cancer Inst., 98: 1118-1128 (2006). See editorial: Sausville, E.A. Respecting cancer drug transportability: A basis for successful lead selection. J. Nat. Cancer Inst., 98: 1098-1099 (2006).
• Secomb, T.W., Hsu, R., and Pries, A.R. Tribology of capillary blood flow. Proc. IMechE, Part J: J. Engineering Tribology, 220(J8): 767 774 (2006).
• Skotheim, J.M. and Secomb, T.W. Red blood cells and other non spherical capsules in shear flow: oscillatory dynamics and the tank treading to tumbling transition. Physical Rev. Letters 98: 078301 (4 pp.) (2007).
• Cardenas-Navia, L.I., Secomb, T.W. and Dewhirst, M.W. Effects of fluctuating oxygenation on tirapazamine efficacy: Theoretical predictions. International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 67: 581-6 (2007).
• Secomb, T.W., Styp-Rekowska, B. and Pries, A.R. Simulation of red blood cell deformation and lateral migration in microvessels. Annals of Biomedical Engineering 35: 755-765 (2007).
• Styp Rekowska, B., Mecha Disassa, N., Reglin, B., Ulm, L. Kuppe, H., Secomb, T.W. and Pries, A.R. An imaging spectroscopy approach for measurement of oxygen saturation and hematocrit during intravital microscopy. Microcirculation 14: 207-221 (2007).
• Goriely, A.R., Baldwin, A.L. and Secomb, T.W. Transient diffusion of albumin in aortic walls: Effects of binding to medial elastin layers. Am. J. Physiol.292:H2195-2201 (2007).
• Barber, B.J., Donnerstein R.L., Secomb, T.W., Pogreba-Brown, K., Steelman, R., Ellenby, M.S., Shen, I., Ungerleider, R.M. The dicrotic pulse: A common, non-ominous finding after the Ross operation. Pediatric Cardiology 28:247–249 (2007).
• El-Kareh, A.W., Labes, R.E. and Secomb, T.W. Cell cycle checkpoint models for cellular pharmacology of paclitaxel and platinum drugs. AAPS Journal 10:15-34 (2008).
• Barber, J.O., Alberding, J.P., Restrepo, J.M. and Secomb, T.W. Simulated two-dimensional red blood cell motion, deformation, and partitioning in microvessel bifurcations. Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 36:1690-1698 (2008).
• Arciero, J.C, Carlson, B.E, and Secomb, T.W. Theoretical model of metabolic blood flow regulation: Roles of ATP release by red blood cells and conducted responses. Am. J. Physiol. 295: H1562-H1571 (2008).
• Carlson, B.E, Arciero, J.C. and Secomb, T.W. Theoretical model of blood flow autoregulation: Roles of myogenic, shear-dependent and metabolic responses. Am. J. Physiol. 295: H1572-H1579 (2008).
• Secomb, T.W., Beard, D.A., Frisbee, J.C., Smith, N.P. and Pries, A.R. The role of theoretical modeling in microcirculation research. Microcirculation 15: 693-698 (2008).
• Pries, A.R. and Secomb, T.W. Modeling structural adaptation of microcirculation. Microcirculation 15: 753-764 (2008).
• Secomb, T.W. Theoretical models for regulation of blood flow. Microcirculation 15: 765-775 (2008).
• Pries, A.R. and Secomb, T.W. Origins of heterogeneity in tissue perfusion and metabolism. Cardiovascular Research, 81:328-335 (2009).
Updated 6 August, 2009