Developing Regenerative Engineering Approaches that Utilize Nanotechnology Platforms to Treat Cardiovascular Disease

Patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases can benefit from living tissue replacements that are autologous, endothelialized, durable, and capable of regeneration and growth; thus, the Cardiovascular Regenerative Engineering Laboratory is working to create cardiovascular tissues that can self-repair and remodel with a patient over time.   In order to achieve this long-term goal, the team at CaRE is developing a new method of creating nanofiber biomaterials integrated with cells and growth factors. 

The investigators at the Cardiovascular Regenerative Engineering Laboratory are using electrospinning technology to create vascular grafts and are exploring methods of incorporating cells and growth factors into those grafts. In addition, investigators are developing an endothelium on the tissue surface in contact with blood, which is another important component of generating cardiovascular tissue.  CaRE is studying molecular strategies to improve the adhesion strength of endothelial cells, and, for in vitro experiments, CaRE is using a parallel plate flow chamber device to subject cells to physiologic shear stress and asses cell retention.

Nanofiber Matrix with and without NaCl

After developing new methods to incorporate cells into nanofiber biomaterials and improve endothelial cell adhesion strength, investigators at CaRE plan to create cardiovascular tissues, including vascular grafts, vascular patches and cardiac patches.  Following extensive in vitro characterization and testing of the cardiovascular tissues, investigators will implant the tissues in a porcine model to assess long-term in vivo viability.


Fig: Various stages of nanofiber matrix creation as seen under scanning electron microscope, with the top left showing the outer layer lacking NaCl, upper right showing the middle layer with NaCl, the bottom right showing middle layer after NaCl leaching, and bottom right showing a cross-section of the layered graft. 




Headshot of Jayne WolfeJayne Wolfe

Project Lead

Headshot of Toby FrostToby Frost



Selected Publications

Tefft BJ, Kopacz AM, Liu WK, Liu SQ (2015). Enhancement of endothelial cell retention on vascular constructs by siRNA-mediated SHP-1 or SHP-2 gene silencing. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, 8(3): 507-516.

Tefft BJ, Kopacz AM, Liu WK, Liu SQ (2013). Experimental and computational validation of Hele-Shaw stagnation flow with varying shear stress. Computational Mechanics, 52(6): 1463-1473.



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