Engineering Heart Valve Interfaces Using Melt Electrowriting: Biomimetic Design Strategies from Multi-Modal Imaging

Michael J. Vernon, Jason Lu, Benjamin Padman, Christopher Lamb, Ross Kent, Petra Mela, Barry Doyle, Abdul Rahman Ihdayhid, Shirley Jansen, Rodney J. Dilley, Elena M. De-Juan-Pardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Interfaces within biological tissues not only connect different regions but also contribute to the overall functionality of the tissue. This is especially true in the case of the aortic heart valve. Here, melt electrowriting (MEW) is used to engineer complex, user-defined, interfaces for heart valve scaffolds. First, a multi-modal imaging investigation into the interfacial regions of the valve reveals differences in collagen orientation, density, and recruitment in previously unexplored regions including the commissure and inter-leaflet triangle. Overlapping, suturing, and continuous printing methods for interfacing MEW scaffolds are then investigated for their morphological, tensile, and flexural properties, demonstrating the superior performance of continuous interfaces. G-codes for MEW scaffolds with complex interfaces are designed and generated using a novel software and graphical user interface. Finally, a singular MEW scaffold for the interfacial region of the aortic heart valve is presented incorporating continuous interfaces, gradient porosities, variable layer numbers across regions, and tailored fiber orientations inspired by the collagen distribution and orientation from the multi-modal imaging study. The scaffold exhibits similar yield strain, hysteresis, and relaxation behavior to porcine heart valves. This work demonstrates the ability of a bioinspired approach for MEW scaffold design to address the functional complexity of biological tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2201028
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number24
Early online date30 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2022


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