Biomechanics of brain ageing

My research project relies on an original interdisciplinary approach to brain ageing combining physical, biological and clinical approaches. It focuses on an aspect of the brain that has been neglected in previous researches about dementia: its pulsatile behaviour.

Focus: intracranial pulsatility

During brain ageing, we can observe modifications of the brain structure, microstructure, mechanical properties and fluid dynamics.

I am convinced that alteration of brain pulsatility reflects an accumulation of brain pathologies and can be used to analyse brain ageing.

Approach: use of mathematical models

My original approach is to use mathematical models based on fundamental physical laws

  •  to interpret in vivo observations;
  •  to explore sub-millimetre phenomena that cannot be assessed by imaging alone;
  •  to extrapolate animal models observations up to the human scale.

Objectives :

Analysis of brain pulsatility should lead to a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases and ultimately provide a new, outside-the-box diagnostic approach relevant for preventive strategies and patient follow up.

Modelling techniques gallery


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Previous and ongoing projects


2020 2021

Reduced mathematical model of the CSF transport in the space between blood vessels and the brain

Researcher recently observed that the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) penetrates the brain through perivascular spaces around the vessels and travels through the parenchyma thus having the potential of clearing the brain wastes. However, those observations are not well understood. The driving mechanisms, flow velocities and even transport direction are still controversial.

Within the the research project of Kent Mardal (University of Oslo), I will model the CSF transport combining a 1D network description of blood and CSF flow and a 3D poroelastic description of the surrounding tissues. Numerical experiments with this model will help understanding the brain clearance system and its implication in Alzheimer's disease.


Clinical assessment of brain biomechanics

A model of blood pulsatility coupled to the cereborspinal fluid dynamics is used to describe a clinical test assessing in vivo the brain biomechanical response. Our approach provide a more precise and robust interpretation of the test, which will be useful both in clinics and research investigations.

2019 2020

Development of a model of cerebral blood pulsatility couple to CSF dynamics

As part of the ERC-funded BRAINMICROFLOW project (PI S. Lorthois), the coupling between the vascular system and the cerebrospinal fluid is described at the mesoscale level with a network approach.


Demonstration of the biomechanical approach relevence

A simplified model of the brain biomechanics was used to interpret data from a cohort of 100 patients. The brain biomechanical response was significantly (p<0.05) associated with an index of frailty (cognitive and physical impairment). This is a first evidence that brain biomechanical response could be a new marker of pathological brain aging [Vallet et al. , Journal of Neurology,accepted, to be published].

Host Institutions

I acknowledge the institutes that hosted my research and believed in the strong potential of the interdisciplinary approach of brain aging.

Funding opportunities for highrisk fundamental project in clinical research field are rare.

The results obtained are promising and I am constantly applying for new funding opportunities in order to pursue the project.