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(photo courtesy of NSERC)

Professor Yu Sun receives Connaught Innovation Award

Professor Yu Sun of the department of mechanical and industrial engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering has received a Connaught Innovation Award for his work to increase the supply of hearts for transplant.

“The short supply [of transplantable hearts] is exacerbated by the fact that many donor hearts become unusable when they reach the hospital for transplantation,” says Sun. “With an artificial heart perfusion system, we can actually resuscitate a heart that has stopped beating, and potentially render it suitable for transplant.”

But even with a heart perfusion system, it can be hard to assess the condition of the resuscitated heart without invasive techniques that often end up damaging the organ. As a result, the number of resuscitated hearts that actually get transplanted remains low.

Sun and his collaborators, including Dr. Mitesh Badiwala of Toronto General Hospital, plan to improve on their current heart perfusion system designs by integrating sensors that measure the pressure and flow of blood in and out of the heart. Data from these sensors can be analyzed using machine learning techniques to provide a real-time, quantitative assessment of the heart’s function.

“With this new capability, we expect to increase the use of donor hearts for transplantation to help overcome the persistent issue of donor organ shortages,” says Sun.

Read the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering story