Tissue engineering is a rapidly evolving interdisciplinary research area aiming at the replacement or restoration of diseased or damaged tissue. In many cases devices made of artificial materials are only capable of partially restoring the original function of native tissues, and may not last for the full lifetime of a patient. Moreover, there is no artificial replacement for a large number of tissues and organs.
We focus our research on the synthesis of load-bearing tissues in the cardiovascular system, in particular heart-valves, small diameter blood vessels and vascular interconnects, and the intervertebral disc. New, autologous tissues are grown outside the human body by seeding cultured cells on scaffold and further developed in a bioreactor for later implantation. The tissue proliferation and differentiation process is strongly affected by mechanical stimuli. Hence, appropriate loads must be applied during the growth process.
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