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The Washington Research Foundation Fellowship
Shiv Bhandari - Biochemistry, Bioengineering
Eager to pursue a growing curiosity in the mechanics of the heart, I was fortunate to join Dr. Murry’s team at the UW Medicine Department of Pathology. The lab’s focus on regenerative medicine has brought together a passionate group of researchers that are dedicated in developing stem-cell therapies for myocardial infarctions. I am thrilled with the opportunity to culture and differentiate stem cells into active cardiac tissues, and I still get a rush every time I look under the microscope and watch the cells beating.
Mentor: Charles Murry, Pathology
Project Title: Engineering high-performance cardiac tissue by simulating the mechanics of the heart
Abstract: Affecting millions of people globally, the WHO deems myocardial infarctions as the largest of cause of death worldwide. The heart’s weak regenerative capacity leads to scarring of infarcted tissue which reduces cardiac output and poses long-term health consequences. Tissue engineering is a promising outlook in restoring the structural integrity and contractile force of affected areas, where engineered constructs subjugated to mechanical stimuli have demonstrated similar characteristics to native cardiac tissue. To improve construct performance, this project investigates a novel concept that subjugates constructs to the complete mechanical profile experienced by native heart tissue. The device will contain two posts that vary in stiffness where constructs will attach. Upon contracting, constructs will face a resistance by the posts that will simulate the afterload stress against which the ventricular wall contracts to eject blood into the aorta. Constructs will then be stretched to simulate the preload stress that the wall tissue faces as the ventricles fill prior to ejection. By combining the afterload and preload schemes, constructs will experience the entire mechanical profile necessary for complete maturation. The goal is to produce cardiac tissue constructs with a contractile force, electrical conduction velocity and histology at par with native tissue. These tissues can then be employed clinically to replace infarcted areas and improve cardiac output along with the quality of life after a myocardial infarction.