"Developing an effective, artificial mechanical heart could be a huge breakthrough," said Ralph Metcalf, professor of mechanical engineering at the UH Cullen College of Engineering.Î¾ "It would have a huge impact on hundreds of thousands of people."Î¾
Metcalf and colleague Matthew Franchek, chair of the department of engineering and director of the biomedical engineering program, are part of an interdisciplinary research team that's bringing a new perspective to artificial heart technology.
"Looking at the body that the heart is in and understanding it through mathematics—that's what Dr. Metcalf's going to do," said Franchek.Î¾ "I can take our control systems, and I can take a look at how the heart sees this patient and make this heart tailor-made."
Franchek and Metcalf are named in a nearly $3,000,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health and will work with the Texas Medical Center team to create a continuous flow ventricular assist device that will bridge the time a heart patient spends on the donor list.Î¾ The prestigious team includes Dr. O.H. Frazier, chief of the Center for Cardiac Support and director of Surgical Research at the Texas Heart Institute; professors from Rice University; Texas Heart Institute physicians; and MicroMed Technology Inc.
Franchek says the results can be profound within the overlap of medicine and engineering.
"But it's also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute so directly to an unknown, untapped, unfilled humanitarian cause," he said.Î¾ Î¾
Matthew Franchek and Ralph Metcalf are part of what's happening at the University of Houston.