Research in BREL focuses on development and characterization of biomaterials for cardiovascular and orthopedic health care. Drs. James, Prawel, and their colleagues, hold several patents on novel technologies for orthopedic and cardiovascular applications.

For example, BioPoly® is a family of hyaluronan/polyethylene materials invented by Dr. James’ group which are currently being used commercially in femoral condyle partial resurfacing devices ( ) and have been implanted in several patients in the EU. Ongoing research is focusing on blood-contacting materials such as flexible leaflets in heart valves, and synthetic grafts for dialysis, coronary bypass and other vascular applications. In this work, the group treats commercial cardiovascular materials and devices such as heart valves and grafts, to make them less prone to clotting. Their methods are successful on UHMWPE, ePTFE, PET, silicone and a variety of other popular cardiovascular biomaterials. Their methods produce highly durable bonds between the HA and the substrate polymer, without affecting mechanical properties of the host material.

Other projects in the lab include:

  • Development and 3-D printing of ceramic photopolymers for bone regeneration, with a particular focus on critical-sized defect repair
  • Advanced structural design of 3-D printed bone regeneration scaffolds
  • 3-D printing of elastomeric biomaterials for cardiovascular healthcare, currently focused on heart valve leaflet materials
  • Micro-structural design of 3-D printed elastomeric heart valve leaflets, for example, to optimize blood flow across the leaflet or to manage turbulence on the leaflet surface

BREL publications (link coming soon)

Director, Susan P. James, Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Advanced Materials Engineering

Associate Director, David A. Prawel, Senior Research Scientist, Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Advanced Materials Engineering