Small and large degradation products of an AB copolymer network in a fibrous capsule five weeks after implantation (Hematoxylin and eosin stain)
Bio-Engineering represents the application of principles of engineering and natural sciences to tissues, cells, bioactive molecules, and biomaterials. Current research of the department aims at the development of cardiovascular devices, which gain rising importance in regenerative medicine. Small diameter vascular prosthesis, vascular patches, systems to occlude the left atrial appendage and polymer-based degradable drug-eluting stents are projects of primary interest.
Different strategies are applied in order to engineer hemocompatible implant surfaces and the research is focused on functionally-confluent and shear-resistant endothelialization of polymer-based surfaces. Moreover, functionalization of appropriate bulk materials with passivating substances e.g. poly (ethylene glycol) is performed to reduce protein adsorption and adhesion of blood cells.
Regeneration of the vessel wall is aimed to be supported by the developed devices, e.g. through drug eluting bioactive substances. According to their polarized profile blood vessels require prostheses which inhibit protein and cell contacts on the luminal surface (blood) but allow binding of cells on the abluminal surface so that the polymer prosthesis can integrate in the adjacent tissues.