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The materials currently used in prosthetic heart valves are associated with challenges such as thrombosis, anticoagulation treatment, calcification, and limited durability. This project aims to overcome these limitations by using electrospinning procedures to produce a superior biomaterial for mechanical valve replacements.
The CaRE Lab is developing a method using electromagnets to align electrospun nanofibers containing a core of magnetic particles. These magnetic fibers will improve the retention of magnetically tagged endothelial cells, therefore reducing the incidence of thrombosis in vivo. Limiting these magnetic nanoparticles to the core of this biomaterial will allow the polymer solution to dominate the properties of the material, as well as limiting adverse tissue reactions with magnetic particles. To further improve the mechanical properties of this biomaterial, electromagnets at different orientations will be used to apply an adjustable magnetic field to control the alignment of the electrospun fibers. This will produce anisotropic mechanical properties that are similar to native valve tissue.