LAFAYETTE (AP) — An assistant professor of mechanical engineering has created an artificial heart lab at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Charles Taylor is developing tools to help test current medical devices and to design and test the next generation of medical devices. Its focus is on prosthetic heart valves and ventricular assist devices, the university said in a news release Monday.

His lab is set up to create computer models. He hopes to soon add the capability for students to build and test systems.

“The medical impact keeps me involved,” he said. “I talk with design groups that are developing the devices and to clinicians who are implanting these devices. I also hear from patients who have these devices who say, ‘Look, there’s got to be something better than this.’

“That element - knowing that I’m making an impact - is important to me. I’m not going to be on the cover of Time magazine as the newest heart pump designer, but I’m helping to provide a support architecture to move this research forward.”

Taylor said he’s adapting a design process used in the aeronautics industry, working simultaneously on computational models and bench-top systems.

Taylor joined the faculty in 2013. In spring 2014, he taught a pilot course in bioengineering. It covered the principles of creating artificial organs.