Ellen Roche

Ellen Roche will join the Department of Mechanical Engineering faculty in summer 2016, following postdoctoral training at the University of Galway; she will also be a core member of the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. She received her BE in biomedical engineering from the National University of Ireland in Galway, and her MS in bioengineering from Trinity College in Dublin. Between these degrees, she spent five years working on medical device design for Mednova Ltd., Abbot Vascular, and Medtronic. She later received her PhD in bioengineering from Harvard University. Roche’s awards include the American Heart Association Pre-doctoral fellowship, a Fulbright international science and technology award, the Harvard Pierce fellowship for outstanding graduates, the Medtronic AVE Award, and the Ryan Hanley Award. She specializes in the design of cardiac medical devices. At Harvard, she performed research on the design, modeling, experimentation, and pre-clinical evaluation of a novel soft-robotic device that helps patients with heart failure. Her invention, the Harvard Ventricular Assist Device (HarVAD), is a soft-robotic sleeve device that goes around the heart, squeezing and twisting it to maintain the heart’s functionality. The device has no contact with blood, dramatically reducing the risks of infection or blood clotting as compared to current devices. Additionally, she worked on incorporation of biomaterials into the device to deliver regenerative therapy directly to the heart. Roche’s device, which has been validated in testing with animals, could restore normal heart function in heart failure patients.



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