Cell and Tissue Engineering

Cell and tissue engineering has the potential to change how we think about disease and aging is happening at BME. Regenerative medicine uses stem cells and biomaterials to repair, replace or regenerate damaged tissue, organ structures and function.

Check out the case studies below to learn about the exciting research done here at BME:


Milica Radasic in a lab with graduate student
Growing heart and liver tissue for safer drug testing and more

Professor Milica Radisic’s team works on growing human tissue in artificial environments as platforms for developing and testing new drugs, and with the potential to one day, repair or replace damaged organs.

Their creations have included Biowire™, a method of growing heart cells around a silk suture, “Hook-in-Tissue,” a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together like Velcro®, and AngioChip, a system built in a normal cell culture dish that allows lab-grown heart and liver tissue to function and interact like the real thing.

Today, the team is already working on commercializing these technologies through TARA Biosystems Inc., a spinoff company co-founded by Radisic.

Tissue Engineering

Portrait of Craig Simmons
Advancing treatments for heart failure

Professor Craig Simmons leads an interdisciplinary team of eight researchers and their students from U of T Engineering, Medicine and Dentistry to advance discoveries and accelerate new treatments for heart failure and cardiovascular disease.

As the scientific director of the Translational Biology & Engineering Program (TBEP), the U of T arm of the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research (TRCHR), he brings together experts in engineering and medicine to uncover mechanisms of disease, develop new diagnostic tests for early detection, and create therapeutic strategies using molecules, cells and biomaterials to regenerate heart tissues.

The goal: improve the lives of one million Canadians with heart failure and reduce the estimated $3-billion cost to our health-care system.

Regenerative Medicine

Molly Shoichet and Penney Gilbert conversing in hallway
Designing regenerative medicine to treat degenerative diseases

More than 100 researchers from the University of Toronto and its partner hospitals are collaborating as part of U of T’s Medicine by Design initiative to enhance fundamental discoveries and develop new therapies to treat degenerative diseases.

Led by University Professor Michael Sefton with a historic $114-million grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, this initiative fosters multidisciplinary collaboration among engineers, scientists and clinicians to solidify Canada’s position as a leader in regenerative medicine, cell therapy discovery and translation.

Read more news about cell & tissue engineering

An innovative approach to visualize the peri-implant healing process at single-cell resolution

May 31, 2021 | In a recent study, researchers from the University of Toronto employed a unique state-of-the-art imaging technique for deep tissue imaging, that has enabled the monitoring of peri-implant bony healing biology in action. This technology can lead to a better understanding of the healing process, allowing researchers to leverage this knowledge to develop faster therapeutic approaches with the use of biomaterials for the future.

New method can improve drug delivery in implants

May 26, 2021 | An innovative biomaterial discovery by researchers at the University of Toronto in collaboration with Ripple Therapeutics Inc., has established a method that yields better control over drug release profiles in implants and has the potential to disrupt the classical drug delivery market.

Portrait of Molly Molly Shoichet in a lab

‘The next big step’: U of T researchers pursue a treatment for vision loss

January 6, 2021 | Supported by U of T’s Medicine by Design initiative, a multidisciplinary team led by University Professor Molly Shoichet (ChemE, BME, Donnely) plans to use retinal stem cells to restore vision.

Patricia Brubaker

‘Our very first biotech win’: How U of T’s discovery of insulin made it a research and innovation powerhouse

November 4, 2020 | Paul Santerre, a professor in the Faculty of Dentistry and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, says the extent of progress on diabetes and insulin will partly depend on how well research breakthroughs from scholars like Brubaker can be married with efforts at commercialization and innovation.

Enzyme chondroitinase ABC

Re-engineered enzyme could help reverse damage from spinal cord injury and stroke

August 24, 2020 | A team of researchers from U of T Engineering and the University of Michigan have redesigned and enhanced a natural enzyme that shows promise in promoting the regrowth of nerve tissue following injury.

© 2021 Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering