The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $47,500 to three research groups through its 2019 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program. Dr. Vande Geest has received the award for the project entitled “A Structurally and Mechanically Tunable Biocarpet for Peripheral Arterial Disease.” This project is for the development of a material and method of deployment of specialized materials that coat the inner lumen of synthetic vascular grafts. The coating will greatly improve the viability and anti-thrombogenic properties of long stent grafts which overlap flexible joints.
Ali Behrangzade has received the American Heart Association Fellowship. His research will focus on the design, optimization, manufacturing, and in vivo evaluation of tissue-engineered vascular grafts (TEVGs) for patients with coronary artery disease. Specifically, he will create an optimized TEVG-patch system and surgically connect it to an artery to evaluate the performance in an animal model. “The results of this study will potentially make significant improvements in the outcome of coronary artery bypass graft surgery,” Ali said.
In collaboration with Dr. Barkmeier-Kraemer at the University of Utah, the “Connective Tissues as a Factor in onset of Idiopathic Vocal Fold Paralysis” project has been awarded through 2024. The goal of this research is to investigate the contribution of the compliance levels of the aortic arch and pulmonary artery to onset of impaired function of the recurrent laryngeal branch (RLN) of the vagus nerve associated with unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVP). Outcomes of this project will elucidate the role of vascular hypercompliance on impaired RLN function in those with iUVP and determine co-morbidities and risk factors that could lead to prevention or alternative treatment approaches for iUVP in the future.
The National Institutes of Health awarded Dr. Vande Geest and his multi-institutional research team $672,682 for his one-year study, “Preclinical assessment of a compliance matched biopolymer vascular graft.” His research builds upon his work designing newly engineered materials that mechanically and microstructurally behave the same way as the body’s native tissues. “We believe our method of mimicking native artery microstructure and mechanics will result in a successful tissue-engineered graft, and this grant will support trials to perfect both our experimental and computational approach,” says Dr. Vande Geest.