MSE Research Project Database

Improving the endothelialization of cardiovascular biomaterials

Project Leader: Daniel Heath
Staff: Daniel Heath, Greg Qiao, and Andrea O'Connor
Student: Fatemeh Karimi
Primary Contact: Daniel Heath (
Keywords: biomaterials
Disciplines: Biomedical Engineering,Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Domains: Convergence of engineering and IT with the life sciences
Research Centre: Particulate Fluids Processing Centre (PFPC)

Blood will coagulate upon contact with most biomaterials. This limits the development of certain biomedical devices such as small diameter vascular grafts and artificial heart valves as the presence of the blood clot will undermine the function of the device. Endothelial cells line native vasculature and are responsible for blood compatibility; therefore, developing material platforms that foster a confluent and functioning endothelial layer is an attractive strategy for improving the blood compatibility of an interface.

Historically, attempts to endothelialize blood contacting biomaterials has not resulted in clinical success. Recent biological research has shown that the nano-scale presentation of cell adhesive ligands controls many aspects of cell behaviour including, adhesion strength, proliferation, migration, and phenotype. However, nano-scale presentation of ligands has not been employed in the arena of blood contacting biomaterials. In this project we are testing the hypothesis that the nano-scale presentation of cell adhesive can be used to improve the endothelialization and blood compatibililty of biomaterials.