Interview: Professor Amoako, University of New Haven

Kagya Amoako, Ph.D.,Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director of Biomaterials and Medical Device Innovation Laboratory - University of New Haven

Dr. Amoako is currently applying for FDA Emergency approval for a connector that splits the use of a ventilator made with a 3-D printer. The use of lung assisted medical devices in patients with COVID-19

Kagya Amoako is an expert in device-related infection and cardiovascular and lung assisted medical devices. His research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of artificial materials and blood interaction. In a key finding, he and his team discovered that polymer-bound nitric oxide can inhibit the growth of bacteria and, at the same time, does not damage the viability of surrounding cells.

His work focuses on how to stop the spread of infections associated with implanted medical devices including catheters, pacemakers, stents, vascular grafts, heart valves, artificial lungs, artificial kidneys, and glucose sensors.

With over 200 million implantable devices used in patients in the U.S. alone, and about a four percent infection rate, Dr. Amoako’s research could impact more than eight million people each year who have device-related infections, improving patient health and reducing hospitalization time and healthcare costs.

As the director of the University of New Haven’s Biomaterials and Medical Device Innovation Laboratory, Dr. Amoako leads teams of graduate students developing new biocompatible surfaces and medical device prototypes and conducting device biocompatibility tests to determine how well the devices would work in clinical practice. His ultimate research goal is to develop the next generation of medical devices that will provide long-term support for cardiovascular and pulmonary disease patients.

In 2017, he published "Achieving Totally Local Anticoagulation on Blood Contacting Devices" inAdvanced Materials Interfaces, which examined the challenges of biomaterial surface interaction with blood, biomaterial properties and their influence on coagulation, and old and new surface anticoagulation methods.

His wide-ranging research work includes the development of polymer materials that can be used in the living spaces in spaceships. With support from the NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium, Dr. Amoako is developing new surfaces that stop the growth of bacteria in the areas astronauts use daily in space.

He and a student researcher are also developing a prototype of a low-cost prosthetic arm for the more than 2.4 million below-the-elbow amputees who live in developing countries and can’t afford a prosthetic arm.

Dr. Amoako is director of the University of New Haven’s master’s degree in biomedical engineering, which includes students from the U.S., China, Nigeria, India, Turkey, Iran, and Myanmar. He received his B.S. in physics and mathematics from Delaware State, and his M.S.E. in mechanical engineering and his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan.

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