Griffiths Cardiovascular Research Laboratory

News Box

Winners of the 2013 Big Bang!

Congratulations to the 2013 winners of the Big Bang Competition. From left: Maelene Wong, biomedical engineering graduate student; Leigh Griffiths, assistant professor of veterinary medicine and epidemiology; Jeni Lee, biomedical engineering graduate student; and Gina MacBarb, biomedical engineering graduate student. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo)

Congratulations Angela Papalamprou!

Congratulations to Angela Papalamprou for receiving the prestigious American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship.

R01 Granted for Tissue Engineered Heart Valves

Griffiths Cardiovascular Research Laboratory receives R01 funding to work on tissue engineered heart valves. Newest member of the team, Ailsa Dalgliesh, will be completing this research as part of her Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology Ph.D. Program.

Griffiths Cardiovascular Research Laboratory

Welcome to the Griffiths Cardiovascular Research Laboratory at the University of California, Davis.  

The laboratory's goal is to help both human and veterinary patients to overcome their cardiovascular disease, through sound application of tissue engineering principles.  Our research team is dedicated to rigorous scientific investigation of cardiovascular disease in both humans and animals.  Although this work inevitably involves bench top scientific research, due to our strong clinical foundation we are dedicated to achieving judicious translation of our research discoveries into patients. 

Due to improved medical practices, life expectancy has doubled over the last 100 years.  This success in extending life has led to an ever increasing need for replacement organs and tissues.  This issue is particularly problematic in the case of cardiovascular structures where even minor tissue or organ dysfunction can precipitate catastrophic failure.  Additionally, the parameters under which cardiovascular structures function are extremely arduous.  The combination of exacting functional parameters and intolerance to even minor levels of dysfunction form the critical design criteria for tissue engineered attempts to produce replacement cardiovascular tissues or organs. 

Many researchers are currently investigating methods for utilizing animal tissues (xenogeneic) as tissue engineering scaffolds for development of tissue engineered organs and tissues.  When combined with the patient’s own cells such scaffolds are capable of directing cell growth to ultimately build anatomically correct and functional organs and tissues.  While this approach shows great promise, unfixed animal derived scaffolds contain components (Antigens) which stimulate an aggressive immune rejection response following implantation.  Removal of antigenic components from the material, prior to cell seeding and implantation in the patient, represents a critical barrier to use of animal derived tissue scaffolds in tissue engineering. 

Our goal is to apply a multi-disciplinary approach to development of an ideal xenogeneic scaffold for tissue engineering.  Our current research is directed at investigating the immune response to animal derived tissue engineering scaffolds.  We utilize the knowledge gained through this endeavor to develop new and more effective methods of rendering the scaffold inert and thus tolerable to the patient’s immune system.  The scaffolds we develop are then repopulated with cells, to create full tissue engineered organs and tissues, which can be safely transplanted into the recipient.


University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
VM2 Room 0103
Davis, CA 95616-5270