© 2019 Patricia Yang. Designed by Shih-wen 'Angela' Chen

Hello, I am

PATRICIA

YANG

A postdoctoral fellow in David Ku’s lab
in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech.
I study fluids inside animals — urine, feces, and blood.
I ask questions like: how can an elephant urinate as fast as a cat? How do wombats excrete cubes? Are there
faster ways to detect blood clots?
RESEARCH
INTERESTS​
  • Biofluids and medical devices

  • Rheology of biomaterials

  • Locomotion of aquatic animals

For Patricia, bodies are a series of tubes fine-tuned to pump the gory and the gross. She does the dirty work of handling feces-filled wombat intestines, gathering pig’s blood from slaughterhouses and designing makeshift elephant urethras – all for the sake of science. And she can’t get enough of it.
— CHELSEA WHYTE, NewScientist
DEC 18 2018
 

AB

OUT

Patricia Yang is a postdoctoral fellow in mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she is developing a 30-min blood clot test. During her doctoral study in the same department, she investigated problems at the intersection of fluid mechanics and biology, in particular, excretion and digestion. Before graduate school, she received bachelor’s degrees in physics and engineering from National Taiwan University.

Yang was the recipient of the Sigma Xi Best Thesis award and the Ig Nobel Prize in Physics. Her work has been featured on CNN, the BBC, National Public Radio, National Geographic, and The Times. In addition to conducting research, she teaches fluid mechanics at all levels, from elementary school to college.

AW

ARDS

 
 

PUBLI

CATIONS

P. Yang, M. LaMarca, C. Kaminski, D. Chu, D. Hu
 

PRESEN

TATIONS

2019

Department of Engineering Science and Ocean Engineering

National Taiwan University, Taiwan

2018

Institute of Applied Mechanics

National Taiwan University, Taiwan

 

Department of Applied Mathematics

Feng Chia University, Taiwan

 

Department of Physics

National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan

 

Department of Polymer Science and Engineering

University of Massachusetts Amherst

 

Network Science Institute

Northeastern University

 

Department of Mechanical Engineering

University of Rochester

 

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Syracuse University

 

Center for the Physics of Biological Function

Princeton University

2017

Department of Physics

Boston University

 

Annual Technical Meeting of the Society of Engineering Science, Boston

2016

American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting, Washington D.C.

2014

Institute of Biophysics

National Central University, Taiwan

MEDICINE

MATERIAL SCIENCE

FLUID MECHANICS

BIOLOGY

INTERDISCIPLINARY

BIOLOGY

2019

Fluid and Health Conference

2018

APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting

2017

International Physics of Living Systems Network Meeting

10th Southeast Meeting on Soft Materials

2016

Southeast Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Conference

Digestive Disease Week

APS March Meeting

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Conference

2015

APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting

Gordon Research Seminar

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Conference

2014

APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting

International Physics of Living Systems Network Meeting

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Conference

2013

APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting

Southeast Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Conference

Annual Meeting of Ecological Society of America

 RE

SEARCH 

 

30–MIN

BLOOD CLOT

TEST

Abnormal blood occludes the blood vessel gradually and it may lead to a stroke or a heart attack.

To prevent the irreversible damage, I am developing a blood test that identifies patients at high risk. I plan to design the test as a point of care test: Nurses can perform the test close to the patient and receive the result in 30 minutes. The project is ongoing, so stay tuned!

research network

publication

The project is ongoing,

so stay tuned!

The
global feces
problem

Human and animal feces pose threats to human health. We currently manage the human waste safely, but what about animal waste?

In our estimation, the total feces was 3.9 billion tons in 2014 and anticipated to 4.6 billion tons in 2030. We highlight the need of safe management of animal feces.

collaborator

joe.jpg

Environmental Engineering
Georgia Tech
USA

publication

D. Berendes, P. Yang, A. Lai, D. Hu, J. Brown

Hydrodynamics
of
defecation

Mammals with cylindrical feces defecate in 5 to 20 seconds. Do animals excrete with rectal pressure, or do the feces slide out effortlessly?

Mammals use rectal pressure, but mucus in the colon lubricates the defecation process. We also discuss extreme cases such as constipation and diarrhea.

Video credit: New Scientist

collaborators

chu.jpg

School of Medicine
University of Alabama at Birmingham
USA

wanting.jpg

Product Designer and Illustrator

Publication &

conference presentations

P. Yang, M. LaMarca, C. Kaminski, D. Chu, D. Hu

LOCATION

The law
of
urination

How do animals urinate? Is urine driven by bladder pressure or by gravity?

In the study, we discover that gravity drives urination for animals greater than 3 kg, thus the urination time stays consistent, between 10 to 30 seconds, across body sizes. Smaller animals urinate high speed droplets driven by bladder pressure.

Video credit: Animal Wire

collaborator

seiji.jpg

Clinical Research Support Center

Asahikawa Medical University
Japan

Publication & conference presentations

P. Yang, J. Pham, J. Choo, D. Hu

LOCATION

FORMATION OF
CUBICAL FECES
FROM WOMBATS

Most animals produce cylindrical or pellet feces, but wombats produce cubes. How do wombats create cubes in the intestines?

Wombat intestines have varying stiffness. The material properties of the feces may also play a role in cube formation. Currently we are looking at the properties of the cubical feces.This research might lead to early screening techniques for colon cancer in humans based on the shape of feces. Please stay tuned!

Image credit: Incrediville

collaborator

scott.jpg

School of Biological Science

University of Tasmania

Australia

SEGMENTAL
CONTRACTION
OF THE

SMALL INTESTINE

Food transported in the intestines has varying compositions. Do the intestines respond to the variance of the composition?

As the gas composition increases, the frequency of intestinal contractions also increases, which may lead to GI abnormalities.

Photo credit: Arie van 't Riet

collaborator

dixon.jpg

Bioengineering

Georgia Tech

USA

Publication and conference presentations

P. Yang, M. LaMarca, V. Karvets, D. Chu, D. Hu

The biomechanical influence of intestinal gas and chyme on small bowel peristalsis

Gastroenterology, 150:4, S904 (2016)

MORPHOLOGY OF JELLYFISH PROPULSION

Rowing jellyfish swim through ever-changing ocean currents. How do they respond to the flows around them?

We discover that rowing jellyfish contract to offset their sinking, but otherwise ignore any feedback from the background flow.

LOCATION

Publication and conference presentation

P. Yang, M. Lemons, D. Hu

P. Yang, M. Lemons, D. Hu

Southeast SICB, 2016

FLIGHT INITIATION OF FLYING FISH

Flying fish swim underwater and glide in air, but how do they transfer from swimming to gliding? How do they penetrate the air-water surface?

In this work, we film juvenile flying fish at high speed. Within 0.05 seconds, flying fish accelerate at 5 times earth’s gravity and glide at 1.3 m/s, 10 times faster than their swimming speed. The submerged part of their body experiences less drag while gliding than it would during swimming.

Video credit: BBC Earth

collaborators

chang.jpg

Institute of Marine Affairs National Sun Yat-sen University

Taiwan

ray.jpg

Wildlife Photographer

TEA

CHING

 

11 of my mentees from various disciplines received the

Georgia Tech’s Presidential Undergraduate Research Award

Students filming

at the zoo

 

FALL 2017

FLUID MECHANICS

INSTRUCTOR

FALL 2016

INSTRUCTOR

Introduction to Fluid and Thermal Engineering

Mechanical Engineering Systems Laboratory

SPRING 2017

TEACHING ASSISTANT

FLUID MECHANICS

FALL 2014

TEACHING ASSISTANT

Bio–

inspired Design

FALL 2012

TEACHING ASSISTANT

Bernoulli equation with the urinary system replica

Surface tension with the Suminagashi kits

Stagnation point with one-breath windbag

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

MILES CHEN
AARON HUI
ALICE ZHANG 
CATHERINE GREY
SHIYAN ZAN
ZACHARY BUTNER
JING YU
JISHEN CHENG
ANTHONY CHEN
RICHARD LEHNER
XE XU
SULISAY PHONEKEO

COMPUTER
SCIENCE 

MATTHEW LEMONS

BIOMEDICAL
ENGINEERING

CANDICE KAMINISKI
VICTORIA KR
AVETS
ZHOU HE
DUC DAO
JONATHAN PHAM
JEROME CHOO

BIOLOGY

MORGAN LAMARCA
ERIC YI

INDUSTRIAL
SYSTEM AND
ENGINEERING

NICOLE KAWAHATA
SARAH BASTA

CHEMICAL AND
BIOMOLECULAR
ENGINEERING

JOSEPH HAINES

BIOCHEMISTRY

VISHRUTHA ARUN