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

Dr. Omar F. Khan honoured with the McCharles Prize for early career research distinction 

Professor Omar F. Khan has been awarded the prestigious McCharles Prize for Early Career Research Distinction for his contributions to the fields of biomedical and immune engineering. 

New study reveals insights into extracellular matrix’s influence on regeneration

A study published in the Journal of Cell Science, led by Professor Penney Gilbert (BME) and Jo Nguyen at the University of Toronto, shed light on the impact of culture substrate stiffness and extracellular matrix (ECM) ligands on the contractility, proliferation, and various cellular processes of human myoblasts. The study aims to understand how these factors influence the regenerative activities of muscle stem cells and their progeny, with implications for aging and disease. 

Heart-on-a-chip model created by U of T researchers uncovers insights into heart problems caused by COVID-19

University of Toronto researchers have created a unique heart-on-a-chip model that is helping untangle the causes of COVID-19-induced heart inflammation and uncover strategies to reduce its impact.

New Canada Research Chairs advance research in regenerative medicine, sustainable housing and more

New ways of growing human tissues outside the body, developed by Professor Alison McGuigan and her team, will help expand the ability of researchers to understand and control cell behaviour.

Two BME faculty members were awarded the Accelerate Seed Grant and Accelerate Moonshot grant

Milica Radisic and Leo Chou are two BME faculty members who were awarded the Accelerate Seed Grant and Accelerate Moonshot grant, as a part of a $1.2 million total funding from the Acceleration Consortium

BME student awarded the University of Toronto Student Leadership Award 

Joseph Sebastian, a BME PhD student at Professor Craig Simmons’ lab, has recently been awarded the University of Toronto Student Leadership Award (UTSLA). Recipients of the UTSLA join the esteemed community of past Cressy Award recipients in being recognized for their impactful leadership and volunteerism at the University of Toronto.