Our mission is to understand the interaction of medical devices with patients’ blood, proteins and cells, with a view to develop more sophisticated and compatible materials for medical devices.
We focus on how medical devices – such as artificial hearts, stents and bypass machines – interact with the body. The team applies cutting-edge bioengineering tools to develop new techniques to assess and understand the interplay of events at the biointerface and manipulate this interplay to improve medical device function as well as create novel devices, diagnostics and drug and non-drug-based avenues for therapies.
Our goal is to develop materials that reduce foreign reactions in the body, and to reduce the incidence of blood clot formation and biofouling.
Despite the widespread use of medical devices in cardiovascular medicine – including artificial hearts, vascular stents, vascular grafts, heart valves, pacemakers, catheters and cardiopulmonary bypass circuits – many side effects, such as blood clots (thrombosis) and microbe adhesion (biofouling), are promoted by the materials used to make these devices. Thrombosis of medical devices is currently managed with medication that can cause additional complications, such as bleeding from antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs.
Additionally, biofouling is treated with antibiotics; however, antibiotics cannot always penetrate the biofilm and the overuse of antibiotics is leading to antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Increased understanding of biointerface interactions and methodology to assess materials could lead to the development of new, more compatible materials and devices to reduce the use of drugs, improve diagnostics for early disease detection and reduce risks for patients.