Joint CVBI and BME Seminar: Ravi K. Birla, Ph.D.
Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering: Models for 3D Heart Muscle, Blood Vessels, Heart Valves and Cell Based Cardiac Pumps
Research Investigator, Division of Cardiac Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Treatment of cardiovascular disorders remains a major medical challenge. Pharmacological interventions, mechanical assist devices and heart transplantation have provided life saving options. While heart transplantation has been the most successful treatment modality for end stage heart failure, chronic shortage of donor organs has limited widespread applicability. Tissue engineering has tremendous potential to provide alternative treatment modalities which could help alleviate the donor heart crisis. Cardiac tissue engineering strategies are focused on the development of functional 3-dimensional (3D) patches, fabricated by culturing cells within a natural or synthetic scaffold. Applied to a clinical scenario, 3D heart muscle could be sutured onto the surface of injured left ventricular tissue to support/augment contractile function.
Research at the Artificial Heart Laboratory (AHL) is focused on the development of 3D cardiovascular tissue constructs. We have projects focused on the development of heart muscle, blood vessels, tri-leaflet valves, cell based cardiac pumps and tissue engineered ventricles. In addition, we have projects focused on supporting technologies. These include perfusion systems to support long term culture, bioreactors for electromechanical stimulation, bio-transportation modules, and systems for bio-exhibition at technology forums. During the past 5 years, we have developed the building blocks required for the fabrication and culture of cardiovascular tissue constructs â in this presentation, we will provide an overview of platform technologies required to bioengineer functional 3D tissue constructs.