Jacob Brubert - University of Cambridge

2% of people will suffer from heart valve disease at some point during their life, normally because their valves degenerate with age, or they have suffered from rheumatic fever. Each year, over 300,000 heart valve replacement surgeries are performed worldwide. Patients must choose between a mechanical or biological prosthetic heart valve,  whilst mechanical valves are very durable, they require the patient to take strong anticoagulation medication for the rest of their life. Biological prostheses require minimal medication, but have a limited durability of 10-15 years. 
Jacob just handed in his PhD. thesis and worked on the development of a prosthetic heart valve made from a rubbery polymer which could overcome the issues associated with mechanical and biological prostheses.
    
Full Name: Jacob Brubert
   
Institution: University of Cambridge
    
Department:  Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology
     
Position: Visiting Research Assistant
    
Department URL: http://www.ceb.cam.ac.uk/

      
TRAPPED
This image shows red blood cells caught in a fibrin mesh on a potential biomaterial. Potential materials for medical devices are tested with fresh human blood to make sure that they don't cause clotting. The biomaterial being tested in this image is being investigated for use as a novel prosthetic heart valve.
   
HANGING BY A THREAD
This image is from breakthrough research into novel prosthetic heart valves. Over 3 million prosthetic heart valves are implanted worldwide each year, however current prosthetics only last up to 15 years and still require lifelong therapy alongside.
  
The image shows the heart valve of a pig, stained to highlight the collagen fibres. The intricate details are used as inspiration for a new and improved polymer based prosthetic heart valve, ensuring broken hearts all over the world can get pumping again!

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