The lab has a primary interest in developing materials and medical devices for use in treatment of congenital heart disease. Most medical devices for pediatrics are derived from devices developed for adult patients. Congenital heart disease patients in general require the use of bioresorbable materials because they degrade in the body as the patient grows.
The Welch Lab has made advances in treatment of aortic coarctation, pulmonary artery stenosis, and tracheomalacia in pig models using bioresorbable stent technology. Limitations on bioresorbable materials used in adult and congenital heart disease has led my lab to developed a new class of radiopaque bioresorbable polymers. This new class of bioresorbable materials has sparked interest with other collaborators, including coating applications for drug delivery carriers for cancer treatment, theranostic nanoparticle treatment, and composite coating systems for multidrug delivery. Structural applications of these polymers may be used for bioresorbable conduits, IVC filters, heart valves, heart patches, and skin grafts. My lab has interest in translating medical devices to fulfill “unmet clinical needs” by combining the use of experimental and in-silico computational simulation.
Project 3 - CO2 Foaming of PLLA Fibers
Research Aspect- Bioresorbable stents with limited functional lifetimes and with drug delivery capabilities are desired. Various methods have been investigated to induce porosity in bioresorbable polymeric stent fibers, thereby to permit increased drug reservoir capacity versus polymer-coated metal stents. In collaboration with UNT, we developed microporous surface layers and cores on PLLA fibers to serve as the drug reservoir, but found that impurities, the use of chemicals, and multiple step procedures associated with our and other published methods limited utility. Thus we investigated theoretically attractive CO2 blowing methods, in which gas under pressure and temperature induces porosity.
Project 5 - Image Reconstruction and 3D-Printing Patient-Specific Bioresorbable Polymer-Scaffolds
Research Aspect- In collaboration with UT Arlington, Dr. Shiakolas, we have built a 3D BioPrinter for printing 3D features using biodegradable polymers such as poly-L-lactide (PLLA) that is currently used for stents. Computer Tomography (CT) from DICOMM data and Computer Aided Design software are used for image reconstruction to print a foundation of different 3D structures. We are exploring a novel development of 3D printing for curved surfaces and flat surfaces to shape similar to heart patches and conduits for congenital heart disease using our novel bioresorbable fluoroscopic polymer, PGSF.