James Antaki-Mechanical Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

James Antaki

Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Courtesy Appointment, Mechanical Engineering

Carnegie Mellon University
Department of Biomedical Engineering
700 Technology Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Office: PTC 4321
Phone: 412-268-9857
Fax: 412-268-9807


Over the past 22 years, Prof. Antaki has conducted research in the field of prosthetic cardiovascular organs, and has contributed to the development of several heart-assist devices used clinically, including the Heartmate-II, Novacor, Ventrassist, TandemHeart, and Levacor. In 1997, his team completed the development of a novel magnetically levitated turbodynamic blood pump, the Streamliner, which recorded the world’s first in-vivo implant of such a device, and was granted an IEEE Controls Systems Technology Award in 2001. Dr. Antaki holds over 16 patents: related to artificial organs, harmonica technology, and other fields. His current research involves the development of circulatory support systems for children, feedback-control algorithms for optimizing cardiac recovery, a blood purification system for treating malaria, and a system for performing aqueous immersion surgery. He is also developing methods to heighten the involvement of physicians in process of innovation and design of new medical devices.


B.S. 1985, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Ph.D. 1991, University of Pittsburgh


Mechanical Circulatory Assistance:

This is a unifying theme throughout Dr. Antaki's research career. It has entailed multifaceted, multi-disciplinary research that has culminated in the development of the world’s first implantable magnetically-levitated ventricular-assist device, named the Streamliner. In many ways, this project was analogous to a moonshot, inasmuch as the underlying physics and physiology were unknown at the time of its inception, but had to be developed. Accordingly, it had spawned research into the interaction of blood with artificial materials under extreme flow conditions, feedback-control algorithms to regulate the hemodynamics of implanted devices, novel cannulation strategies, and other peripheral spinoff programs. A novel aspect of this research is the concept of coupling numerical optimization with computer simulation to achieve superior safety and efficacy without the time-consuming and costly demands of trial-and-error.

In 1998, the Streamliner became the first maglev rotary pump to be implanted in animals. In 1999, this research was recognized by IEEE who granted their annual Control Systems Award to Antaki and BE Paden.  Since 1999 to present day, this work has evolved into development of next-generation magnetically levitated blood pumps, including the Levacor (WorldHeart, formerly MedQuest), the PediaFlow for infants, and the HemoGlide for young children. The Pediaflow program, a collaboration between UoP, CMU, CHP, WorldHeart, and LaunchPoint is currently entering Y2 of a 4-year NIH contract to begin clinical trials in 2012.

Multi-scale Model of Thrombosis in Artificial Circulation Blood Rheology, Trauma, and Thrombosis:

This has been a collaborative effort with Dr. Kameneva (University of Pittsburgh) to develop a multi-scale mathematical model to describe and predict the trafficking of blood cells, primarily in artificial circulation, but also in the cardiovascular system. Micro-scale computer simulations and experiments of individual cells are used to motivate and calibrate meso- and macro-scale simulations that may be used in the design of blood-wetted devices. It is currently supported by a 5-year R01, entering its third year.

Identifying and Optimizing Ventricular Function and Recovery: 

The prospect of developing a “cure” for heart failure is a holy grail for medicine. It is likely that future efforts to “remodel” or restore the diseased heart will entail some form of temporary mechanical circulatory assistance – while adjuvant therapies are provided, or the heart recovers by itself.  This research aims to (1) develop diagnostic tests that can identify which patients are likely to benefit from temporary cardiac support, and (2) develop strategies to optimize ventricular “reloading” to provide maximal rehabilitative effect.  This project is supported by a 5-year R01 to UoP (lead), CMU, U Maryland and Integris Health Systems, now entering its 4th year.

Assessment of Right Ventricular Function in LVAD patients:

An important risk factor associated with LVAD therapy is right ventricular failure. This research dates back to the very first LVAD clinical trials at UPMC, in which Sonomicrometry crystals were implanted at the time of LVAD insertion allowing RV function to be assessed before and after LVAD support. The present day incarnation of this project involves the study of risk factors that can identify patients most likely to benefit from bi-ventricular support.


  • Bachman T, JK Bhama, J Verkaik, S Vandenberghe, RL Kormos, JF Antaki, Evaluation of a robust ventricular cannula for emerging ventricular assist devices. Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology 2(3):xx-xxx, 2011.
  • Johnson C, S Vandenberghe, AR Daly, JR Woolley, ST Snyder, JE Verkaik, S-H Ye, HS Borovetz,  JF Antaki, PD Wearden, MV Kameneva1 and WR Wagner, Biocompatibility assessment of the first generation PediaFlow(tm) pediatric ventricular assist device. Artificial Organs 35(1):9-21, 2011. PMID: 20626737
  • Hund, SJ, JF Antaki, and M Massoudi, On the representation of turbulent stresses for computing blood damage. International Journal of Engineering Science 48 (2010) 1325–1331. (Special Issue in Honor of K.R. Rajagopal)
  • Zhao R; Marhefka JN; Antaki JF; Kameneva MV, Drag-reducing polymers diminish near-wall concentration of platelets in microchannel blood flow. Biorheology 2010;47(3):193-203. PMID: 21084744
  • Cleveland, J, TB Reece, DC Naftel, JF Antaki, et al. Decreased Survival after Bi-VAD Implant: Is It the Bi-VAD or the Patient? The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, 2010