PhD student in Biomedical Engineering
École Polytechnique de Montréal
Award-winning publication: Electrospun Nanofiber Scaffolds and Plasma Polymerization: A Promising Combination Towards Complete, Stable Endothelial Lining for Vascular Grafts
Published in: Macromolecular Bioscience
"Currently available large-diameter synthetic grafts are ineffective as small-diameter replacements due to clot formation, inadequate surface properties that cause cell-detachment in high velocity blood flow, and general lack of patency. Additionally, the mechanical properties of these grafts poorly match those of native blood vessels. Pre-endothelialization has shown promise as a strategy to improve the performance of small-diameter grafts, but it is still handicapped by poor adhesion and retention of endothelial cells (ECs). The combination of electrospinning and amine-rich plasma polymer coating can provide an adequate scaffold that has morphological and mechanical properties close to those of the extracellular matrix beneath ECs, and biological characteristics that favor their adhesion, growth and resistance. This could be highly advantageous, as it reduces the risk of occlusion."
Houman Savoji's research not only addresses main health problems that affect Canada's aging population, but it also helps develop technology for one of the highest demand medical device markets. Currently, the efficacy of cell attachment to vascular grafts is limited by poor resistance to high shear stress in small-diameter vascular grafts. If patients' own veins are the only suitable choices for graft material, they only have a 50% success rate and a restricted life span; which makes replacement of small-diameter vessels the best alternative to vascular surgery. Optimization and testing can have an impact on industry and clinics, hence the Canadian economy as well. This study is the first of its kind to investigate the combination of plasma-polymerization and electrospinning process for vascular graft applications.