• By Dana Sparks

Discovery’s Edge: From apprentice to independent researcher

May 2, 2017

This may come as a surprise, but the tubes that carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart, called coronary arteries, are distressingly tiny. “Coronary arteries are about three to four millimeters in diameter,” says Brandon Tefft, Ph.D., a research associate focused on regenerative medicine at Mayo Clinic. That’s about the width of a match head.

Heart, showing a blocked coronary artery

Coronary Artery Disease
The narrowing or hardening of these arteries is the most common form of heart disease according to the National Institutes of Health. While a shift in life choices and medication are the usual first therapies, doctors can turn to medical devices to restore or improve blood flow to the heart.

Dr. Tefft is a biomedical engineer working on the next generation of cardiovascular medical devices. Six years ago he started at Mayo working with Robert Simari, M.D., and Amir Lerman, M.D., an interventional cardiologist, on a project to create dynamic, living heart valves. Read the rest of the story.
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