Implementation of a tool for scaffold design with application in the engineering of heart valves

Early Stage Researcher: Dario Farotto

Host institution: MATERIALISE


The ESR will work in a team dedicated to the design of new heart valve structures from synthetic resorbable polymers to be used as scaffold for endothelial and mesenchymal stem cell seeding. The design of the scaffold will be based on geometrical models of the heart valve and on the quantitative characterisation of the mechanical environment of the myocardial tissue (cfr. Task 2.2). The design of the heart valve substitute will be iteratively assessed and improved by evaluating the morphological remodelling, the cells proliferation into the scaffold and on the scaffold surface, the cell viability and differentiation, and the degree of valve coaptation throughout the culture time. Such activity will be performed in collaboration with IOG and IMPERIAL (cfr. Tasks 3.1 & 3.2).

Traditional CAD and digital CAD software will be used and further optimized for the scaffold and bioreactor design. In terms of hardware the machine park of MATERIALISE will be used, for evaluating different additive manufacturing techniques as stereolithography, PolyjetTM, selective laser sintering and FDM. An investigation into micro- and nano-manufacturing will also be performed.

Expected Results

i) a software package or module dedicated to scaffold and bioreactor design and ii) business plan for the commercial exploitation of custom and generic scaffolds and bioreactors for heart valve engineering.