Consciously breathe in and out one time. This is exactly what you unconsciously do about 20,000 times a day to supply your body with oxygen. In some cases, however, various illnesses and diseases can interfere with the pulmonary gas exchange in the lungs and thus become a life-threatening problem. If medical treatment, drug therapy, and artificial respiration cannot help, artificial lungs can be used as an intensive care treatment.
The development of such artificial lungs into a realistic organ replacement is a dedicated research focus of Dr.-Ing. Jutta Arens, Professor and Chair of Engineering Organ Support Technologies at UTwente. Jutta works together with partners from the medical, natural, and engineering sciences inter alia as part of the German Research Foundation’s “Towards an Implantable Lung” priority program to address the diverse issues that arise from artificial lung systems in contact with blood. She combines engineering and medicine to the benefit of patients and contributes her knowledge on a national and international level to develop standards for testing and approving artificial organs in order to ensure patient safety. In her free time, she likes to take deep breaths while enjoying long-distance hikes.
German Federal Institute of Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM)
Member of the Scientific Advisory Board
Member of Board of Trustees of ASAIO
The last two years, before coming to University of Twente in November 2019, Jutta Arens was the acting head of the Department of Cardiovascular Engineering, CVE, Institute of Applied Medical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University with the core competencies of the department being in the development of heart assist and lung assist devices and their preclinical testing including computer simulations and the development and design of special purpose in-vitro test setups. Within the CVE over the past decade Dr.-Ing. Jutta Arens build up the Group `Artificial Lung Technologies´, at the beginning mainly focusing on miniaturization concepts for oxygenators used for newborns and preterm infants. This resulted in research on a Heart-Lung Machine for neonates with congenital heart defects (her PhD project) and the artificial placenta system NeonatOx. Miniaturization and modularization concepts were investigated for ECMO systems for personalized treatment and to allow for the mobilization of ICU patients including the development of new production methods. An overarching goal has been the improvement of hemocompatibility of the assist devices in order to make them long-term stable. Therefore, the group worked on reliable CFD simulation concepts and flow visualization inside the oxygenators´ fiber bundle by PIV in order to be able to validate the flow simulations in detail and to better understand the flow distribution between the hollow fibers. Active mixing in the oxygenators´ fiber bundle, the simulation of the gas exchange, evaluate in vitro the modeling of thrombus growth, and the influence of pulsatile blood flow on the gas exchange capacity of oxygenators were research topics as well as the work on an alternative method for the connection of ECMO systems to patients.
Jutta studied Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University with specilization in Plastics Technologie and Medical Engineering and performed her PhD at the above mentioned Institute in Aachen.
She now holds the Chair of Engineering Organ Support Systems within the Department of Biomechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Technologies. Her research at UTwente will mainly focus on artificial organs such as Artificial Lungs (oxygenators), Heart Assist, and Kidney Replacement with strong emphasis of combining these therapies in highly integrated devices and increasing their long-term stability and blood-compatibility.