Our research is focused on the biomechanics of the vasculature in health and disease, studying how disease affects biomechanics and vice-versa. One area of focused NIH-funded research has been the abdominal aortic aneurysm. Dr. Vorp and his trainees have used experimental and computational biomechanics techniques to develop a noninvasive means to predict the rupture potential of patient-specific aneurysms. Another area of focus and NIH-funding has been the vein graft, and how this tissue responds to the biomechanical milieu associated with its transposition to the arterial circulation. A novel whole-vessel perfusion apparatus allows the exposure of intact human and other mammalian vein segments to realistic and controlled biomechanical forces. Our laboratory has also been increasing efforts in the development of a tissue-engineered blood vessel (TEBV). This unique approach fabricates TEBVs from a mixture of bone marrow derived progenitor cells (BMPCs) and collagen, and aims to determine the effect of applied biomechanical forces on BMPC differentiation and TEBV development. In the former, we are investigating the effects of cyclic in-plane strain and hydrostatic pressure on the differentiation of BMPCs to smooth muscle cells (SMC) and endothelial cells (EC). The goal here is to utilize biomechanical forces as a tool to create autologous, fully functional, disease free EC and SMC for vascular tissue engineering applications.