Tissue Engineering Resource Center

Mission The unifying mission of the Center is to provide a hub for tissue engineering research, translation, collaborative efforts, service and training, dissemination and outreach that would impact the scientific community and the general public. The Center is envisioned to meet the critical needs in this burgeoning field by serving as a place-to-go for the established, junior and aspiring investigator. We will focus on the development, utilization and dissemination of unique technologies that are at the forefront of the field, and on applying these technologies to a broad range of basic, translational and clinical studies. The Center will attempt to balance the development of the new areas with advancing the research and translation in already established areas. Our goal is to offer resources that will be transformative to the field of tissue engineering (by shifting the current paradigms) and its clinical application (by scale up, translation, and entrepreneurship). 

Vision The vision for the Center is to catalyze advances in tissue engineering and foster its integration into a mature and well-rounded scientific field with a strong impact on regenerative medicine and modeling of disease. We propose to achieve this ambitious vision through the operation of three interactive TRDs. TRD1: Adaptive-responsive biomaterials, will focus on biomaterials with adaptive control that can sense, and actuate cells to drive the functional restoration of complex tissue structures, in vitro and in vivo. TRD 2: Imaging enabled bioreactor systems will focus on bioreactors with optical control, sensing, and feedback based cultivation of engineered tissues, with precise spatiotemporal visualization, actuation and validation of biological events. TRD 3: Regenerative engineering will focus on developing a suite of clinical-scale, imaging-enabled bioreactors for regenerative engineering of tissues and whole organs. 

Meet The Center Team



Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic PhD, is the University Professor, the highest academic rank reserved for only a few active professors at Columbia University (out of 4,000). She is the first engineer at Columbia University to receive this distinction. She is also the Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medical sciences, and a member of faculty in the Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center and Center for Human Development. She directs the Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, and serves as the lead for bioengineering at the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative, and on the Columbia University President’s Task Force for Precision Medicine. The focus of her research is engineering functional human tissues for regenerative medicine and studies of development and disease. She has published over 370 journal articles and gavin more than 375 invited talks. With almost 38,000 citations (h=110), she is one of the most highly cited individuals of all time, in all disciplines. She has over 80 licensed, issued or pending patents and has founded four biotech companies, an experience that will be most helpful for pursuing commercialization of the Center’s products and technologies. Among her many recognitions, she was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame, has received the Clemson Award of the Biomaterials Society, the Robert A. Pritzker Award for Lifetime Achievement, and was the first woman engineer to give the Director’s lecture at the NIH. She is a Founding Fellow of the International Society for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, and one of the Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers. She is a member of Academia Europea, AAAS, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, National Academy of Engineering (officer), National Academy of Medicine, and National Academy of Inventors. 

David Kaplan

David Kaplan PhD holds an Endowed Chair, the Stern Family Professor of Engineering, at Tufts University. He is Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and also holds faculty appointments in the School of Medicine, the School of Dental Medicine, Department of Chemistry and Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. His research focus is on biopolymer engineering towards understanding the structure-function relationships in the context of protein self-assembly, biomaterials engineering, functional tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. He has published over 600 peer- reviewed papers and edited eight books. He serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals and is Editor- in-Chief for the ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering. He has received numerous awards for teaching and research, is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and received the Columbus Discovery Medal and Society for Biomaterials Clemson Award for contributions to the literature. A highly regarded scientist, an experienced PI of numerous projects and a serial entrepreneur, Dr. Kaplan brings to the Center exceptional expertise and skills. 

mb circle.jpg



Matthew Bacchetta M.D. is an Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, the Surgical Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Comprehensive Care Center, the Surgical Director of the Adult Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Program, and the Director of the Pulmonary Thromboarterectomy Program at Columbia University Medical Center - New York Presbyterian. Dr. Bacchetta's degrees in mechanical engineering, surgery and MBA have enabled him to become a unique and highly successful innovator in the use of mechanical support devices. The new approaches he developed have helped numerous patients to survive through life-threatening crises for several months at a time. Dr. Bacchetta is a lung transplant surgeon, and he has led efforts in Columbia’s bridge-to-lung-transplantation (BTT), which recently reported the best patient survival in the world. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a member of the Steering Committee for the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) and the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO). He is also an officer in the United States Army Reserves, and has served as a surgeon in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Messages Image(985268099).png



Dr. Fine MD PhD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in Cardiology at Columbia University Medical Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons and attending cardiologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital. As a physician scientist Dr. Fine’s lab focuses stem cells and engineered human cardiac microtissues to model cardiac disease and develop novel translational therapies. The goal of his research is to leverage advances in biomedical engineering and genetic manipulation to improve modeling cardiac diseases. His current laboratory focuses on utilizing human cardiomyocytes derived from induced pluripotent stem cells to three aspects of cardiac biology and disease: 1) understanding metabolic determinants of human cardiomyocyte survival and contractility utilizing engineered human tissues, 2) modeling congenital heart disease using programmed differentiation of stem cells to cardiomyocytes and CRISPR to mimic inherited mutations found in a specific disease called heterotaxy and 3) identifying determinants and biomarkers of graft failure after heart transplant using exosome proteomics and machine learning.