Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor 1

Parisa Pour Shahid Saeed Abadi

Committee Member 1

Gregory M. Odegard

Committee Member 2

Smitha Rao Hatti

Committee Member 3

Sangyoon Han


Cardiovascular diseases and disorders (i.e., those related to heart and blood vessels) are the main reasons for mortality worldwide. Nanomaterials, with their unique morphologies and properties, have a great potential for advancing cardiovascular engineering to treat diseases and disorders. In this dissertation, several cardiovascular applications of conductive nanomaterials were investigated. First, a conductive nanomaterial was explored to fabricate biohybrid nanomaterial-cardiomyocyte (CM – heart muscle cell) systems. Using Carbon Nanotube (CNT) forest as a 3D porous and conductive scaffold was investigated. The influence of the CNT forest on the viability, attachment, and spreading of CMs and their genetic information was studied via live-dead staining, fluorescence microscopy, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). The developed scaffolds are cytocompatible, as evidenced by live-dead staining and PrestoBlue cell viability assay. Moreover, the scaffolds do not adversely affect the expression of genes related to CMs’ maturation and functionality. CMs formed a 3D network on a gelatin-coated CNT forest, forming a 3D conductive biohybrid actuating system. The developed 3D nano-biohybrid systems can be used for applications ranging from monitoring of cell function in organ-on-a-chip systems to muscle actuators for biorobots. Second, electrical stimulation in conjunction with nanomaterial scaffolds was utilized to mature CMs. A customized 3D-printed electrical stimulation setup with the capability to apply biologically relevant electrical signals to CMs was developed. The qPCR results for the expression of cardiac genes relevant to maturity and function were quantified for cells and different scaffolds. The results showed that the setup is capable of mimicking in vivo cues for in vitro cell and tissue models to make them more suitable for cardiac regeneration and disease/drug testing applications. Third, nanomaterials were exploited to develop bending actuators with the potential to be integrated with medical devices. For example, bending guidewires in tortuous vasculatures is critically important for therapeutic applications of catheters in the human body. The developed actuator showed reasonable bending and promising results for cardiovascular applications. The overall impact of this Ph.D. dissertation ranges from areas of tissue engineering to robotics and cardiovascular medical devices.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Available for download on Wednesday, December 04, 2024