WAN, Wankei

Associate Professor
Department of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering
Director, Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering

B.Sc. (Hong Kong) 1970
M.Phil. (Hong Kong) 1972
Ph.D. (SUNY, Buffalo) 1978
Websites:    http://www.eng.uwo.ca/people/wwan/

DR WAN's research interests lie in the general area of biomaterials, nanomaterials and medical devices. Specific areas of application of current interest include development of degradable and non-degradable biomaterials for cardiovascular devices, novel wound dressings and controlled release.

Biomaterials: Current interest is focused on hydrogels such as polyvinyl alcohol, biocellulose, degradable biocompatible polymers and nanocomposites

Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and other hydrogels. Hydrogels are highly hydrophilic and biocompatible polymers that have been investigated for a broad range of biomedical applications. We have demonstrated that PVA solutions can be processed to possess a broad range of mechanical properties to mimic that of soft tissue. Nanocomposites derived form PVA are also prepared and investigated for a broad range of biomedical applications.

Biocellulose. Biocellulose is produced by the bacteria Acetobacter xylinum in static, shaken and agitated cultures. In a static culture, it is produced in sheet form termed pellicle. In shaken and agitated cultures polymer fibres of nanometer size are produced. These nano-fibres are hydrophilic and have very large surface area. These unique features make biocellulose suitable for applications where high surface area and high water absorbency is required.

Degradable polymers. We design, synthesize and characterize a new class of biocompatible, degradable polymer for use in degradable medical devices where they are required for a relatively short period of time. They are also suitable for use in drug delivery devices and as scaffold materials in tissue engineering.

Nanocomposites. These are prepared using nanomaterials including biocellulose, carbon nanotubes, nanoceramic particles and nanopolymer fibers prepared by electrospinning in combination with biocompatible polymers.

Medical devices: Current effort is focused on cardiovascular devices, novel wound dressings and controlled release

Artificial skin/occlusive wound dressing. Wound dressings are prepared from bacterial cellulose using a unique dissolution/regeneration process. This product is nonimmunogenic and has mechanical properties comparable to that of human skin. It also stimulates epithelial (mouse) cell growth. Another version of wound dressing which is based on the nano-biocellulose fibres has also been prepared.

Polymer artificial heart valve. An integrated polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel based artificial heart valve and a bioprosthetic heart valve stent have been fabricated. Their mechanical properties are designed to closely match that of the human counterpart.

Other medical devices. We are also working on small diameter vascular grafts and other related devices for the cardiovascular system as well as drug delivery devices.

Tissue engineering. We are working towards living skin grafts and cardiovascular tissues.

KEYWORDS: biomaterials, medical devices, hydrogels, biocellulose, cardiovascular devices, wound dressing, controlled release, nanomaterial. nanocomposite, degradable polymer.

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Contact Info

Western Engineering

Thompson Engineering Building,
Room number 433
Telephone: 519-661-2111 Ext. 88440
Fax: 519-661-3498
E-mail: wkwan@uwo.ca