ERC Starting Grant awarded to Prof. Maximilian Emmert

Two scientists of the University of Zurich have both been awarded a coveted ERC Starting Grant of 1.5 million euros from the European Research Council. Lorenzo Casaburi's study aims at improving market access for farmers in East Africa. And Maximilian Emmert wants to develop a novel transcatheter aortic valve prosthesis that lasts a lifetime.

Maximilian Emmert

A native-like transcatheter aortic valve prosthesis for life

Minimally-invasive transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) has revolutionized the therapeutic options for heart valve disease and has recently become the first-line therapy for the majority of patients. However, due to continuous degeneration the lifetime of the currently used valve prostheses for TAVI is very limited, and patients may therefore require multiple re-interventions, significantly affecting their life quality. This problem is particularly accelerated in younger patients.

In the TAVI4Life project, Maximilian Emmert, a cardiac surgeon and professor at the UZH Institute for Regenerative Medicine as well as at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the German Heart Center Berlin, will use an unconventional 3D printing inspired bioengineering approach to tackle this problem. He aims to develop a novel transcatheter aortic valve prosthesis that fully transforms into a native-like valve and stays for life. "The clinical impact would be enormous as, particularly for young patients, such a valve would significantly enhance their life expectancy and quality of life," Emmert states.

Benedikt Hochstrasser