Andrés J. García, PhD


Andrés J. García, PhD


George W. Woodruff Professorship

School of Mechanical Engineering

Inflammatory responses to implanted biomedical devices severely limit the biological performance of various devices in millions of patients. Furthermore, device-associated infections, such as catheter-associated bloodstream and surgical site infections result in substantial morbidity and mortality and raise the cost of caring for patients. The inability to directly monitor/image inflammatory responses and infections associated with implanted devices is a major roadblock to the evaluation/diagnosis of device-associated inflammation and infection as well as the development of effective therapies. We have developed near-infrared fluorescent probes for minimally-invasive, in vivo imaging of device-associated inflammation and infection. By using imaging probes specific for different reactive species associated with macrophages and neutrophils, we can discriminate between biomaterial-associated aseptic inflammation and infection. We are evaluating the relationship among reactive species/inflammation levels, bacterial growth and virulence in implant-related infection. In a related project, we have engineered biomaterials (catheters, nanoparticles) presenting active bacteriophages directed against common bacterial pathogens involved in urinary catheter and cystic fibrosis infections. We are currently evaluating the ability of the tethered phage to reduce infections in animal models of device-related infection and cystic fibrosis infections.

The García research centers on cellular and tissue engineering, areas which integrate engineering and biological principles to control cell function in order to restore and/or enhance function in injured or diseased organs. Specifically, his research focuses on fundamental structure-function relationships governing cell-biomaterials interactions for bone and muscle applications.