Heart Disease

Research with a global impact

Meet Dr Jo Pauls, a career researcher whose heart is open to the world.

Jo Pauls is an ambitious researcher, working on two major research projects in the Innovative Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology Lab (ICETLAB); part of the Critical Care Research Group.

Getting to where he is now has been quite a journey, relocating from Germany to Australia. For Jo, the idea of being able to work in medical engineering in an environment so close to real clinicians and patients excited him, leading him to pursue work within the ICETLAB at The Prince Charles Hospital. In the first year he was awarded a New Investigator Grant from The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, which he credits with giving him the ability to even begin his research and kick-start his now completed PhD.

Both of Jo’s current projects fall under the umbrella of the Open Heart Project. The overall aim of this project is to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and development of new technologies for mass-producible, cost-effective and reliable Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs). These devices will help to reduce costs and therefore barriers to treatment for patients with end-stage heart failure in the developing world.

The first part of the OpenHeart project will be focused on a web-based open source research hub “with this research platform, we want to promote international collaboration within the field of mechanical circulatory support” explains Jo. Bringing PhD students and early career researchers, together under one umbrella to share research experience and knowledge, research data, obstacles and outcomes to maximize resources, eliminate repeated exercises and ultimately accelerate the research. Not just content with sharing knowledge, Jo is also mentoring and working with young researchers to develop a physiological control for blood pumps, to help assist devices to respond to the body and the development of “low cost” blood pumps and motors for use in the ‘OpenHeart’ device.

“Together under one umbrella to share research experience and knowledge, research data, obstacles and outcomes to maximize resources, eliminate repeated exercises and ultimately accelerate the research.”

Jo is a career researcher, and was recently awarded an Emerging Researcher Grant from the Foundation. These funds have allowed him to progress the ‘OpenHeart’ project, work on the control system and build the platform. With the funding he has received ensuring this leading research program will continue.

With that in mind, Jo wants to continue to the next step his work at The Prince Charles Hospital over the next year. Introducing the ‘OpenHeart platform to researcher’s worldwide and continuing work to perfect the control systems for the assist devices; to do this Jo is hopeful of obtaining a Research Fellowship from The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation in future.

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