Robert Allen


Robert Allen

Robert Allen

Faculty Mentor: Yadong Wang

Research:Mr. Allen's current research focuses on rapidly degradable synthetic materials for cardiovascular tissue regeneration. Resorbable cardiovascular implants must have suitable mechanical properties, good blood compatibility, and resorb at a rate allowing new tissue to replace its function. The lab's recent work demonstrates that fast degrading arterial grafts can rapidly remodel into artery-like tissue in small animals.** Current projects include new designs for fast degrading arterial grafts and adaptation for heart valve repair. He also studies the potential of natural fast degrading materials to encourage vascular cells to self-assemble into tubular vessel-like tissues outside of the body. Research Progress: Fast degrading cell-free synthetic grafts for cardiovascular tissue regeneration: Characterized synthetic arterial graft explants from rat experiments. We found explants remarkably similar to the healthy arteries of unimplanted controls. Minor revisions of this manuscript were resubmitted to Nature Medicine in late September.** I have also developed new electrospun arterial grafts that should provide advantages in fabrication and performance in vivo. Natural fast degrading materials for self-assembly of vascular tissues: Fabricated and characterized highly cellular, watertight tubular tissues formed from vascular smooth muscle grown in fibrin gel in vitro. Presented this work at an NHLBI symposium and a local research retreat (McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Annual Retreat). Also submitted a manuscript to The Journal of Tissue Science and Regenerative Medicine. **Research progress up to July 2011 done in collaboration with Wei Wu


  • Allen RA, Seltz LM, Jiang H, Kasick RT, Sellaro T, Badylak SF, Ogilvie JB. "Adrenal Extracellular Matrix (ECM) Scaffolds Support Adrenocortical Cell Proliferation and Function in vitro". Tissue Engineering Part A, 16, 11, 3363-3374, 2010.
  • Allen RA Wang Y. "Rapid Self-Assembly of Tubular Arterial Medial Layer from Smooth Muscle Cells in Transient Fibrin Gel". Journal of Tissue Science & Engineering, 2, 3, 2011.
  • Dutta D, Lee KW, Allen RA, Wang Y, Brigham JC, and Kim K. "Non-invasive Assessment of Elastic Modulus in Arterial Constructs during Cell Culture using Ultrasound Elasticity Imaging." Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, 2013.
  • Wu W, Allen RA, Gao J, Wang Y. "Artificial Niche Combining Elastomeric Substrate and Platelets Guides Vascular Differentiation of Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cells". Tissue Engineering Part A, 17, 15-16, 1979-1992, 2011.
  • Wu W, Allen RA, Wang Y. "Fast Degrading Elastomer Enables Rapid Remodeling of a Cell-Free Synthetic Graft into a Neo-Artery". Nature Medicine, June, 2012.


  • Bioengineering Graduate Student Research Symposium. Pittsburgh, PA. United States of America, 2007.
    • Cois CA.. Shells and spheres: a novel image analysis framework for automated segmentation, 2007.
  • Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Fall Meeting. Pittsburgh, PA. United States of America, 2009.
    • "Rapid assembly of tubular arterial medial layer from smooth muscle cells in transient fibrin gels." 2009.
  • NHLBI Symposium on Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine. Bethesda, MD. United States of America, 2011.
  • Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting. Atlanta, GA. United States of America, 2012.
    • "Improved design for cell-free, fast degrading synthetic artery grafts." 2012.
  • Society for Biomaterials Annual Meeting. Boston, MA. United States of America, 2013.
    • "Long Term in vivo Study of Rapidly Degradable Synthetic Arterial Grafts." 2013
  • The 4th Canadian Conference on Nonlinear Solid Mechanics. Montréal, Canada.
    • "A Predictive Computational Model of Arterial Tissue Equivalent Evolution." 2013
  • Gordon Research Conference: Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering: Inductive Signals for Tissue Regen. Holderness, NH. United States of America, 2013.
    • "Cell-free synthetic vascular grafts transform into living arteries in situ : One-year in vivo study." 2013.


Robert researches new designs for vascular grafts, which are used for bypass, hemodialysis shunts, repair, and defect revision. His project is to develop a resorbable vascular graft that transforms into a new, living artery after being implanted inside the body.