Regenerative & reconstructive cardiovascular medicine
The programme ‘Regenerative and reconstructive cardiovascular medicine’ comprises the expertise of two PI groups and is focussed around the following research areas: regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, and reconstructive cardiovascular medicine.
Research activities in this programme focus on regenerative medicine and tissue engineering for vascular tissues and encompass the creation of tissue engineered constructs that are prevascularised and graft solutions for specific surgical applications such as the arteria-venous shunt as a dialysis conduit. In addition, molecular pathways of collateralisation are being studied. Using computational fluid dynamics, ideal graft configurations are determined for optimal graft-vessel hemodynamics. These grafts are subsequently characterised in vitro and in vivo in animal models. Vascular biology of aneurysm formation is studied focusing on the role of vascular smooth muscle cells, using in vitro techniques, animal models and biobank with human tissue and blood samples.
The aneurysm research line is a collaboration between the departments of Vascular Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Biochemistry and Biomedial Engineering. The pathogenesis of aneurysm formation is studied with the vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) as main cell of interest. The research platform is built on two pillars: a biobank containing aneurysm patient tissue and blood samples and in vivo aneurysm animal models.
Another part of this programme focusses on how concepts from basic sciences can be applied clinically to improve or enhance the regenerative and reconstructive potential of a surgical intervention on the one hand and how surgical interventions can offer an experimental model for testing hypotheses emerging in basic sciences, on the other. To achieve this, all PhD students in the programme have to combine their clinical appointment with an appointment at a basic science department. As a result, most of the PhD students continued their research activities after being registered as a medical specialist and were able to develop their own, mostly translational line of interest. Preliminary studies on extracorporeal circulation have been initiated and carried out in collaboration with the Dept. of BME and externally with the Dept. of BME at the TU/e.