Katarina Martinet


Katarina Martinet headshot


Coronary artery disease (CAD) is common cardiovascular ailment that leads to approximately 360,000 deaths per year. CAD is characterized by a buildup of plaque within the arteries that prevents oxygen rich blood from reaching all tissues within the body. Current work in the CAD space focuses on the development of a tissue engineered vascular graft (TEVG) that can be used to replace the diseased artery instead autologous grafting – the most common current treatment method. Autologous grafts have a high failure rate due to intimal hyperplasia and thrombosis which is likely a consequence of compliance mismatch between the autologous graft and the native vessel. My work focuses on the development of a novel biodegradable TEVG that remains compliance matched with the host vessel throughout the remodeling process. More specifically incorporating TGFβ-2 into a biopolymer graft that has been pre-compliance matched to the host artery through computational modeling. TGFβ-2 plays a key role in determining the phenotype of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) , and can be used to recruit VSMCs as well as move them to a more synthetic phenotype. My research will focus on the role of TGFβ-2 eluting grafts in terms of ECM deposition, inflammatory response, and in vivo compliance changes.

Honors and Awards:

2021-2022 Department of Bioengineering Bevier Award, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA