Research Projects

Tissue Engineering of Heart Valve and Blood Vessels

Engineering of the membrane-like tissue structures to be utilized in highly dynamic loading environments such as the cardiovascular system has been a challenge in the past decade. Scaffolds are critical components of the engineered tissue membranes and allow them being formed in vitro and remain secure in vivo when implanted in the body. Several approaches have been taken to develop scaffolds for tissue membranes. However, all methods entail limitations due to structural vulnerability, short term functionality, and mechanical properties of the resulted membrane constructs. To overcome these issues, we have developed a novel hybrid scaffold made of an extra thin layer of metal mesh tightly enclosed by biological matrix components. This approach retains all the advantages of using biological scaffolds while develops a strong extracellular matrix that can stand various types of loads after implantation inside the body.

In this project heart valves and vascular tissue structures are developed based on our hybrid membrane concept. We have successfully developed tri-leaflet heart valves using an extra thin supereslastic Nitinol mesh scaffold. This hybrid heart valve is going to be a self-regenerative heart valve with enhanced biocompatibility and lifetime durability. More information can be found in here and here.

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