student profile: Miss Steph Yee


Thesis work

Thesis title: Development of an elastomeric patch for cardiac repair: the effect of scaffold architecture and growth factor supplementation on bioactivity and attachment

Supervisors: Hala ZREIQAT

Thesis abstract:

Heart failure is one of the most debilitating diseases today, and is responsible for one third of all deaths in the world. Current treatments for heart failure either do not cure the disease, or if they do, are associated with high risk and a range of complications. As such, tissue engineering has emerged as a potential alternative for treating heart failure. Currently, the gold standard for a tissue engineered solution is the cardiac patch, an epicardially attached biomaterial that is designed to support the production of new cardiac tissue. However, the primary challenge is the development of a patch that can provide mechanical support, yet be biologically active enough to promote the development of new cardiac tissue.

One material that has the potential to provide both these aspects is poly(glycerol sebacate). This synthetic elastomer can be fabricated to possess similar mechanical properties to the native cardiac tissue, and can withstand the cyclic stresses and strains in the heart. However, there are still difficulties in the attachment of PGS patches to the heart, and its overall bioactivity. Thus, this thesis aims to develop and characterise an elastomeric, PGS-based patch that is easily attachable to the heart, supplement it with growth factors and subsequently test its ability to support the development of new cardiac tissue.

Note: This profile is for a student at the University of Sydney. Views presented here are not necessarily those of the University.