Heart failure and losing a loved one to sudden cardiac arrest is emotionally draining and something that no one should ever have to experience. Sadly, too many of us have been through this experience. The disparity between donor hearts and the number of patients requiring a heart transplant is staggering. There are only 3,000 donor hearts available every year in the U.S. for over 100,000 patients who need one. Is there something that can be done to help patients in need of a heart transplant?
BIOLIFE4D is a pioneering and innovative company with a bold vision to solve this problem and help thousands of patients across the globe in need of a heart transplant. BIOLIFE4D’s vision is to bioprint hearts using a patient’s own stem cells. This technology will no doubt have a huge impact on global healthcare and save thousands of lives. Steve Morris, CEO of BIOLIFE4D, is a visionary leader, with strong business acumen and the passion to help thousands of patients in need of a heart transplant.
Steve and I first spoke over the phone while I was on personal travel. Afraid that a business conference may anger my wife, I was hesitant to take this call; however, my conversation with Steve changed the direction of my career, giving it more depth and meaning and most importantly, a drive and passion that comes from knowing the potential impact of my work. My conversation with Steve gave my career a purpose – to help patients in need of a heart transplant.
My career has been dedicated to developing new therapies for heart failure patients. During the past 15 years, my lab has been a pioneer in the field of cardiac bioengineering, with published and patented work in heart muscle fabrication, vascular graft and valve engineering, ventricle bioengineering and whole heart fabrication. In addition, my work has been directed towards the development of bioreactors that provide the right environment for the culture of the bioengineered heart muscle and whole hearts; these include bioreactors for electrical stimulation, uniaxial stretch and pulsatile fluid flow. Furthermore, my lab has developed novel sensors to measure the electrical activity of bioengineered hearts. Collectively, my work can be described as developing the tools to bioengineer parts of the heart or fabricate whole human hearts.
My conversation with Steve left me thinking – can I use my research portfolio to bioprint human hearts and help thousands of patients in need of a heart transplant? I really believed that I had the necessary toolkit to accomplish this very challenging task. When Steve offered the position of Chief Science Officer (CSO), I felt humbled at the responsibility being entrusted upon me; I also recognized the potential impact that my work will have on thousands of patients – I immediately accepted the offer to serve as the CSO of BIOLIFE4D.
As I take on this new challenge, I remain true to the very sentiments that motivated me to accept this position – to use my research experience and toolkit to bioprint human hearts that will someday help thousands of patients across the globe in need of a heart transplant.