Research in this laboratory focuses on the following areas.
Endothelial Cell Adhesion to Vascular Grafts
Endothelial cells, the special cells that normally line the heart and all blood vessels, are being attached to vascular grafts to impart a more blood-compatible surface. This project is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Implantable Glucose Sensors for Diabetics
The failure of current implantable glucose sensors stems from the body's reaction to a foreign object. The sensors work for a limited number of days, but eventually the body tries to wall off the sensor, making its detection of changes in blood glucose less accurate.
Duke researchers are studying the foreign body's response to understand how the body reacts and find ways to fool the body into being more accepting of the sensors. One way this is done is to pre-coat the sensors with the body's own adult stem cells. This project is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Another approach is to seed a glucose-sensing molecule into plastic that is porous to encourage integration with native tissue and reduce the rejection that occurs with most foreign objects. This project is funded by the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health.
Glaucoma Drainage Device
Glaucoma is the main cause of preventable blindness worldwide. Duke researchers have developed a new generation of glaucoma drainage devices, which have now received FDA approval. The devices are being implanted in patients. This project is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Xerogel Coating of Implants
Coating implants with a special material that releases nitric oxide can improve their biocompatibility by increasing the formation of capillaries next to the implant.
Another beneficial effect of the nitric oxide is that it helps the white cells kill any lingering bacteria. This is particularly helpful with bone plates used to stabilize severely fractured bones. This project is funded by the National Institutes of Health.