Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Cell-instructive biomaterials for tissue engineering:Applications in regenerative medicine and study of disease

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic

Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Sciences, Columbia University


Tissue engineering is becoming increasingly successful with authentically representing the actual environmental milieu of human development, regeneration and disease. A classical paradigm of tissue engineering involves the use of human cells, biomaterial scaffolds (structural and logistic templates for tissue formation) and bioreactors (culture systems providing environmental control, molecular and physical signaling) in regenerative medicine. Today, living human tissues can be bioengineered from autologous stem cells, and tailored to the patient and the medical condition being treated. A reverse paradigm is now emerging with the development of platforms for modeling of integrated human physiology, using iPS cell derived micro-issues of different types functionally connected by microvasculature. The biological fidelity of these “tissues on a chip” platforms and the capability for high-throughput work and real-time measurement of physiological responses are poised to transform preclinical drug screening and modeling of human disease.

The new generation of biomaterials, designed to structurally, biologically and mechanically resemble the native tissue matrix, is a key driver of progress in the research and applications of tissue engineering. This talk will discuss the common underlying principles of tissue engineering, and some recent advances in biomaterial designs. To illustrate the current capabilities and the challenges ahead, we focus on three areas of high scientific and clinical interest: bone regeneration, cardiac tissue organoids for drug testing, and modeling of solid tumors.


Funding: National Institutes of Health, New York State Department of Health, New York City Investment Fund (Bioaccelerate Program) and Mikati Foundation for Research.

Plenary lectures - YUCOMAT 2016

member since 2008