Student projects

Experimental assessment of blood damage

Heart failure is a global public health issue with more than 23 million cases per year. Many patients with end-stage heart failure would require transplantation, but due to the shortage of donor hearts, mechanical circulatory support is often the therapy of choice. Among the employed systems, continuous flow left ventricular assist devices (VAD) are the most prevalent and show the highest survival rates.

Even though such devices greatly improve patient outcome compared to no therapy, there are still many unresolved problems. The most prevalent complication in VAD patients is bleeding with often dramatic consequences. One suggested cause for this condition is the increased cleavage of von Willebrand factor (VWF), a protein required for normal coagulation, due to high shear stresses in the VAD.

In this master project, the student shall conduct experiments that investigate the effect of high stresses on the VWF. The work will include experiments on human and artificial plasma, and the student can also participate in the design of experimental setups, if interested.

We are looking for a medical student who is interested in pursuing experimental work within an interdisciplinary team at the interface of medicine, biology and biomedical engineering, while getting insight into current research on medical devices. The student will be part of the Zurich Heart Project, a collaborative endeavor between the University Hospital, Kinderspital Zurich, the University and ETH Zurich.
We will also collaborate with the Inselspital Bern for this project.


Student: Floni Sadiku
Project type: Medical Master thesis
Project start: September 2017
Project end: Juli 2018
Supervisor: Lena Wiegmann,

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