John Higgins


Research Projects

I study the dynamics of human pathophysiologic processes by developing mathematical descriptions of complex human disease phenotypes and how they change over time.

Pathophysiology may be described at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and organismal levels and may show clinically significant variation over time scales ranging from less than a second to more than a decade. Current projects include modeling:

  • Physiologic and pathologic population dynamics of human blood cells in various forms of anemia.
  • Rheodynamics of vaso-occlusion in sickle cell disease.
  • Patient immunologic response to blood transfusion.
  • Other important pathophysiologic processes where states can be measured with temporal and spatial resolution sufficient for productive mathematical modeling.

The research combines medical insight, dynamic systems theory, and experiments utilizing simulation, analysis of medical record databases, microfluidics, video processing, and flow cytometry in pursuit of two goals: (1) advancing fundamental understanding of the dynamics of human pathophysiology, and (2) improving patient diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment.