Making an Impact in the Medical Device Community

Charles Taylor, a doctoral student in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering’s Biomedical Engineering Department, is changing the way artificial heart pumps are tested in the laboratory. The results could be lifesaving.

“I wanted to make an impact on the medical device community by delivering a testing solution that would allow for previously unachievable simulations to be performed,” Taylor explains. Until recently, he’s been the lab’s sole researcher. “The challenge was the empty table. I’ve learned how to build a research lab, from the table up, into an emerging research competitor in this field.”

Not only has the lab proven to be a rising competitor in the artificial heart pump field, but it’s the only lab in the country with a mock circulatory loop system that controls arterial properties in real time to produce these realistic cardiovascular conditions.

“The loop can be scheduled to execute setting changes that work to construct events and conditions that reflect the pump-body interaction,” according to Gerald E. Miller, Ph.D., professor and chair of the VCU Department of Biomedical Engineering. “From a heart attack or a burst aneurism, the system will change in less than half a second to mimic exactly what’s inside the body. No other school in the country is working on this level.”

Taylor’s fully automated mock circulatory loop delivers performance and versatility never before seen in the field.

“Encompassing this field science in my work has been a unique and enriching graduate study under Dr. Miller,” Taylor said. “The mock circulatory loop is positioned to research groups and device companies as a testing solution to replace antiquated systems currently in place.”

The development of this platform, Miller says, provides a unique, real-time system to evaluate blood pumps for a wide range of pathophysiological conditions with an on-the-fly ability to change cardiovascular conditions which mimic rapid changes in the human circulation under emergency settings.

“The work by Charles Taylor is an opportunistic marriage of engineering control systems with cardiovascular medicine.”

– Gerald E. Miller, Ph.D.