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Stem Cell-derived Cardiomyocytes for Bioengineering Applications

Due to poor availability of human primary heart cells, studies that focus on the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases, as well as regenerative approaches to ameliorate them, are mostly conducted using animal models. However, species to species differences impose a big challenge when translating the findings from these studies to clinic. Recent developments in human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) research present hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (iCMs) as an alternative source for studying and treating CVDs. However, functional, biochemical, electrical, and mechanical maturity of these cells is yet to be established. We characterize iCM purity and functionality extensively, in relation with the culture age and conditions, to establish a reproducibly mature cell source. Using various biochemical, electrical and mechanical characterization methods, we determine the optimal parameters needed to reproducibly obtain mature and functional iCMs to pave the way to constructing more dependable tissue models for various bioengineering applications such as cardiovascular tissue engineering, drug screening and organ-on-chip disease models.