Bioreactors for Mechanical Training of Engineered Tissues

Bioreactors for Mechanical Training of Engineered Tissues

Living engineered tissue vascular grafts (ETVGs) are potential alternatives to autografts and synthetic grafts in coronary artery bypass surgery by offering the possibility of natural integration and the potential for growth, remodeling, and self-repair. It has become axiomatic that mechanical conditioning promotes ET formation, either in vitro inside bioreactors, or in vivo post-implantation. However, the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. Although a myriad of external stimuli is available in current bioreactors (e.g. oscillatory flows and/or mechanical training), there are significant bioengineering challenges in quantifying and predicting parameters that lead to optimal engineered tissue development and structure for the long term of obtaining ETVGs exhibiting architecture and functionality equivalent to native arteries.

The Engineered Tissue Multiscale Mechanics & Modeling (ETM3) Laboratory aims to develop highly-integrative experimental-computational approaches to improve our general understanding of how mechanical stimulation can be used to obtain better ETVGs and improve their outcome in coronary artery bypass surgery.

Projects will include:

  • CAD/CAM of iterative design of bioreactors for incubation of ETVGs (static and dynamic)
  • Computational analysis of bioreactor stimulation regimes with FEM, CFD and FSI
  • Construction of bioreactor prototypes and evaluate/validate them on the bench
  • Systems integration with feedback-controlled actuation with image analysis and GUI development
  • Design, development, and fabrication of electrospun scaffolds and graft phantoms
  • In vitro tissue engineering experiments and participation in in vivo study with School of Medicine partners
  • Mechanical and structural characterization of:
    • Native tissues - pig internal mammary arteries and rat aorta
    • Graft phantoms
    • Acellular scaffolds at various stages of degradation
    • Mechanically-stimulated engineered tissue vascular grafts pre-implantation
    • Engineered tissue vascular grafts post-implantation

Interested? Contact Prof. João Soares (