Sharan Ramaswamy, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department, has been awarded an American Heart Association (AHA) grant! The grant, entitled “Bioscaffold mitral valve replacement permitting somatic growth and remodeling” focuses on a promising strategy to treat critical congenital mitral heart valve disease in young children using a regenerative approach. Due to sizing limitations and an inability of an artificial heart valve to grow with the child, the study uses a “bioscaffold” valve assembled from tissues derived from the small intestine of pigs, which permits the patient’s own cells to infiltrate the scaffold to secrete new living tissue, which has the potential for growth. The focus of the study is to use as little of the bioscaffold as possible and subsequently assess how well the valves can grow over a year in the mitral position in an animal model. Dr. Ramaswamy is a Fellow of the AHA and its Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences. Key partners on this grant are a clinical team from Joe Dimaggio’s Children’s Hospital, Hollywood FL (Frank Scholl M.D., Steven Bibevski, M.D. and Lilliam Valdes-Cruz, M.D.) and a veterinary staff at the Mannheimer Foundation, Homestead, FL (Director, Pablo Morales and Director of Operations, Krishna Rivas-Wagner). The award is for $154,000 over two years.