Dr. Zahra Motamed – Faculty of Engineering
Zahra Motamed

Dr. Zahra Motamed


Medical devices, medical imaging, dagnostic, intervention-predictive and intervention-optimization tools

Current status

  • Accepting graduate students

  • Associate Professor, Director of Cardiovascular Research Group and Joseph Ip Distinguished Engineering Fellow

    Mechanical Engineering

  • Associate Member

    Computing and Software

  • Associate Member

    McMaster School of Biomedical Engineering

Other roles:

Associate Member
School of Computational Science and Engineering


Research Interests

Dr. Motamed’s research interests are in the areas of translational and basic cardiovascular mechanics. Using multidisciplinary research she tries to advance knowledge in biomechanics, fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, medical imaging and mathematical modelling. A major part of her work has been dedicated to development and validation of advanced multi-scale computational-mechanics and imaging-based algorithms for patient-specific modelling of cardiovascular system with the following objectives:

  • To develop long needed quantitative diagnostic, predictive and intervention-optimization tools for cardiovascular diseases to support personalized interventions and clinical decision making
  • To design, evaluate and optimize cardiovascular devices such as transcatheter heart valves and vascular stents
  • To uncover causes of cardiovascular pathologies through solving complex biomedical problems
  • To re-classify diseases and to establish guidelines for clinical interventions
  • To lead multidisciplinary collaborative efforts to translate engineering-based findings and developments into clinical practice
  • To develop monitoring tools for cardiovascular health to be integrated in future smart houses and smart vehicles

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of her research, Dr. Motamed extensively collaborates with engineers, clinical scientists, surgeons and cardiologists in Canada, USA and Europe.

Description of ongoing research

Despite advancements in surgical/interventional techniques, many cardiovascular patients do not respond favourably to treatments and their life expectancy remains reduced. Abnormal hemodynamics and biomechanics lay at the base of the initiation and progression of many cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, taking more lives than all forms of cancer combined. It is expected to remain the first cause of death by 2030 in the world. Blood flow quantification can be greatly useful for accurate and early diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases. However the fluid-dynamics methods that can be used as calculating engines of the new diagnostic tools are yet to be developed. Furthermore, as most interventions intend to restore the healthy condition, the ability to predict hemodynamics and biomechanics resulting from a particular intervention has significant impacts on saving lives. Predictive methods are rare. They are extensions of diagnostic methods enabling prediction of effectiveness of interventions, allowing systematic testing for possible clinical solutions, and thus enabling personalization of interventions. The step beyond prediction is optimization of interventions to obtain the best possible outcome. Advancing computational mechanics offers a powerful means to augment clinical measurements and medical imaging to create non-invasive diagnostic, predictive and optimization tools. This is the aim behind a computational cardiovascular mechanics framework that Dr. Motamed’s lab is developing. The framework was named Poiseuille to honour the 18th-century French physicist and physiologist Jean Leonard Marie Poiseuille who provided a mathematical description for blood flow in vessels. Poiseuille is built for three folds of applications: diagnosis, prediction and intervention optimization. Poiseuille has one specific module for each of these applications and one common module that contain shared programs serving the three application modules. Currently Poiseuille is under active development. These developments present formidable mathematical and computational challenges: modeling must incorporate the motion of fluid and the motion of vessel wall, a large network of the blood vessels with complicated geometries, persistent pulse-driven changes in flow and pressure, and in some cases behavior of red blood cells. Poiseuille also provides the backbone for developing new monitoring tools for cardiovascular health to be integrated in future smart houses and smart vehicles.

Did you know?

Multiple openings for graduate students:

I am looking for graduate students with a strong background and experience in designing and building in vitro test setups, prototyping, manufacturing, data acquisition, instrumentation, programming, experimentation (e.g., particle image velocimetry).

I am looking for graduate students with a strong background in image processing or CFD, computational solid mechanics and fluid-structure interaction. Following experience and knowledge are highly favourable: lattice-Boltzmann method, finite-element method, immersed boundary method, 3-D model reconstruction using serial images, image processing algorithms, Fortran, C, and Python programming.

If interested, please send me an email (motamedz@mcmaster.ca) summarizing your education, background and interests along with your CV and transcripts.

Block Heading

Dr. Motamed directs Cardiovascular Research Group and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at McMaster University. She holds associate faculty memberships in the Department of Computing and Software, in the School of Biomedical Engineering, and in the School of Computational Science and Engineering. She is a member of the Thrombosis & Atherosclerosis Research Institute (TaARI) and McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA). Moreover, Dr. Motamed is a research affiliate faculty member at the Institute for Medical Engineering & Science and Harvard-MIT Biomedical Engineering Center at MIT (Cambridge, USA). Before joining McMaster, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Medical Engineering & Science and Harvard-MIT Biomedical Engineering Center at MIT. She received her Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) in 2012 where she was a part-time/adjunct faculty member from 2013 to 2014. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Montreal/Laval University (2013–2014). Her research interests are mainly in the areas of translational and basic cardiovascular mechanics to develop long-needed quantitative diagnostic, predictive, and intervention-optimization tools for cardiovascular diseases to support personalized interventions and clinical decision making.

​Dr. Motamed is a Joseph Ip Distinguished Engineering Fellow. She serves as the Chair of the NSERC Research Tool and Instruments (RTI) Selection Committee for Mechanical Engineering for the Competition 2021. Dr. Motamed serves on the editorial board of Scientific Reports, a Nature Group journal. She is also a member of the Editorial Board in the Journal of Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. She is a handling Editor in Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine and a Guest Editor in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology in Novel methods to advance diagnostic and treatment value of medical imaging for cardiovascular disease. She has been a scientific consultant to a number of medical device companies.

​She also has 9 years of industrial experience in the automotive R&D sector with a proven record of leadership and project and team management. She is currently using her vehicle design experience to contribute to the development of future smart vehicles. Her group is also working towards developing human health monitoring tools for future smart houses.

  • Joseph Ip Distinguished Engineering Fellow, Canada, 2021-2024
  • American Heart Association (AHA) Fellowship, USA, 2016
  • Fonds de la Recherche du Québec-Santé (FRSQ) Fellowship, Canada, 2016
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Fellowship, Canada, 2014
  • Fonds de la Recherche du Québec-Santé (FRSQ) Fellowship, Canada, 2014
  • Visiting Scholars Fellowship, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Fellowship, Canada, 2014
  • Fonds de la Recherche du Québec-Nature et Technologies (FQRNT) Fellowship, Canada, 2013
  • Amelia Earhart Fellowship, Zonta International Foundation for women in engineering, USA, 2011
  • PhD Thesis Award, Canada, 2011
  • Campaign for a New Millennium Award, Canada, 2011
  • Power Corporation of Canada Award, Canada, 2011
  • Carolyn & Richard Renaud Teaching Award, Canada, 2010
  • Power Corporation of Canada Award, Canada, 2010


  • L. Garber, S. Khodaei, Z. Keshavarz-Motamed. (2021). The critical role of lumped parameter models in patient-specific cardiovascular simulations. Archives of Computational Methods in Engineering. 1-24.
  • Y. Wang, A. Biswasa , R. Rodrigueza , Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, A. Emadi. (2021). Hybrid electric vehicle specific engines: State-of-the-art review. Energy reports, 8, 832-851.
  • S. Khodaei, A. Henstock, R. Sadeghi, S. Sellers, P. Blanke, J. Leipsic, A. Emadi, Z. Keshavarz-Motamed. (2021). Personalized intervention cardiology with transcatheter aortic valve replacement made possible with a non-invasive monitoring and diagnostic framework. Nature Scientific reports. 11(1): 1-28
  • S. Khodaei, R. Sadeghi, P. Blanke, J. Leipsic, A. Emadi, Z. Keshavarz-Motamed. (2021). Towards a non-invasive imaging-based computational diagnostic framework for personalized cardiology of transcatheter aortic valve replacement in interactions with complex valvular, ventricular and vascular disease. International Journal of Mechanical Sciences. 202: 106506
  • Baiocchi, S. Barsoum, S. Khodaei, S. E. Valentino, E. C. Dunford, J. M. de la Torre Hernandez, M. J. MacDonald, Z. Keshavarz-Motamed. (2021). Effects of choice of medical imaging modalities on a non-invasive diagnostic and monitoring computational framework for patients with complex valvular, vascular, and ventricular diseases who undergo transcatheter aortic valve replacement. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. 9, 389.
  • Asaadi, W. Mawad, A. Djebbari, Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, L. Kadem, N. Dahdah. (2021). On left ventricle stroke work efficiency in children with moderate aortic valve regurgitation or moderate aortic valve stenosis. Pediatric Cardiology, in press.
  • Z. Keshavarz-Motamed. (2020). A diagnostic, monitoring, and predictive tool for patients with complex valvular, vascular and ventricular diseases. Nature Scientific Reports. 10 (1): 6905.
  • R. Sadeghi, S. Khodaei, J. Ganame, Z. Keshavarz-Motamed. (2020). Towards non-invasive computational-mechanics and imaging-based diagnostic framework for personalized cardiology for coarctation. Nature Scientific Reports. 10(1): 9408 (Editor’s choice: fluid dynamics)
  • Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, S. Khodaei, F. Rikhtegar Nezami, J. Mahesh Amrute, S. J. Lee, J. Brown, E. Ben-Assa, S. Sellers, P. Blanke, J. Leipsic, T. Garcia Camarero, J. Ruano Calvo, J. M. de la Torre Hernandez, E. R. Edelman. (2020). Mixed valvular disease following transcatheter aortic valve replacement: quantification and systematic differentiation using clinical measurements and image-based patient-specific in silico modeling. Journal of American Heart Association. 9(5):e015063
  • E. Ben-Assa, J. Brown, Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, J. M. de la Torre Hernandez, B. Leiden, M. Olender, F. Kallel, I. F. Palacios, I. Inglessis, P. B. Shah, S. Elmariah, M. B. Leon, E. R. Edelman. (2019). Ventricular stroke work and vascular impedance refine the characterization of patients with aortic stenosis. Science Translational Medicine. 11(509): eaaw0181
  • Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, F. Rikhtegar Nezami, R. A. Partida, K. Nakamura, P. V. Staziaki, E. Ben-Assa, B. Ghoshhajra, A. B. Bhatt, E. R. Edelman. (2017). Elimination of trans-coarctation pressure gradients has no impact on left ventricular function or aortic shear stress post intervention in patients with mild coarctation. JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions. 9(18): 1953-1965.
  • G. Di Labbio, Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, L. Kadem. (2017). Numerical simulation of flows in a circular pipe transversely subjected to a localized impulsive body force with applications to blunt traumatic aortic rupture. Fluid Dynamics Research. 49(3) 035510.
  • Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, E. R. Edelman, P. K. Motamed, J. Garcia, N. Dahdah, L. Kadem. (2015). The role of aortic compliance in determination of coarctation severity: lumped parameter modeling, in vitro study and clinical evaluation. Journal of Biomechanics. 48(16): 4229-4237.
  • Benevento, A. Dejebbari, Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, R. Cecere, L. Kadem. (2015). Flow distribution in aortic valve bypass: a mathematical modeling approach. PLoS One. 10(4): e0123000.
  • Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, J. Garcia, E. Gaillard, R. Capoulade, F. LeVen, G. Cloutier, L. Kadem, P. Pibarot. (2014). Non-invasive determination of left ventricular workload in patients with aortic stenosis using magnetic resonance imaging and Doppler echocardiography. PLoS One. 9(1): e86793.
  • Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, Y. Saijo, Y. Majdouline, J. Ohayon, G. Cloutier. (2014). Coronary artery atherectomy stabilizes plaque shear strains: an endovascular elastography imaging study. Atherosclerosis. 235(1): 140-149.
  • Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, J. Garcia, E. Gaillard, N. Maftoon, G. Di Labbio, G. Cloutier, L. Kadem. (2014). Effect of coarctation of the aorta and bicuspid aortic valve on flow dynamics and turbulence in the aorta using particle image velocimetry. Experiments in Fluids. 55: 1696.
  • Y. Majdouline, J. Ohayon, Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, M. H. Roy Cardinal, D. Garcia, L. Allard, S. Lerouge, F. Arsenault, G. Soulez, G. Cloutier. (2014). Endovascular shear strain elastography for detection and characterization the severity of atherosclerotic plaques: in vitro validation and in vivo evaluation. Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology. 40(5): 890-903.
  • Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, J. Garcia, L. Kadem. (2013). Fluid dynamics of coarctation of the aorta and effect of bicuspid aortic valve. PLoS One. 8(8): e72394.
  • Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, J. Garcia, N. Maftoon, E. Bedard, P. Chetaille, L. Kadem. (2012). A new approach for the evaluation of the severity of coarctation of the aorta using Doppler velocity index and effective orifice area: in vitro study and clinical implications. Journal of Biomechanics. 45(7): 1239-1245.
  • Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, J. Garcia, P. Pibarot, L. Kadem. (2011). Modeling the impact of concomitant aortic stenosis and coarctation of the aorta on left ventricular workload. Journal of Biomechanics. 44(16): 2817-2825.
  • Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, L. Kadem, A. Dolatabadi. (2010). Effects of dynamic contact angle on numerical modeling of electrowetting in parallel plate microchannels. Journal of Microfluidics and Nanofluidics. 8(1): 47-56.
  • Z. Keshavarz-Motamed, L. Kadem. (2010). Pulsatile flow in a curved tube with a coexisting model of aortic stenosis and coarctation of the aorta. Medical Engineering and Physics. 33(3): 315-324.

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