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:


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

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

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.

U of T Engineering researchers develop cell injection technique that could help reverse vision loss

August 13, 2020 | U of T Engineering researchers have developed a new method of injecting healthy cells into damaged eyes. The technique could point the way toward new treatments with the potential to reverse forms of vision loss that are currently incurable.

U of T researchers develop ‘piggyback’ vehicle to escape the endosomal trap and deliver RNA therapeutics

May 1, 2020 | U of T researchers develop ‘piggyback’ vehicle to escape the endosomal trap and deliver RNA therapeutics

How does COVID-19 invade our bodies so easily? U of T Engineering team uses ‘organ-on-a-chip’ model to find out

April 08, 2020 | Milica Radisic (ChemE, IBBME) is working with Axel Guenther and Edmond Young (both MIE) to create tiny models of the nose, mouth, eyes and lungs to better understand how COVID-19 infects organs

Handheld 3D skin printer demonstrates accelerated healing of large, severe burns

February 4, 2020 | A new handheld 3D printer can deposit sheets of skin to cover large burn wounds – and its “bio ink” can accelerate the healing process.

Researchers develop method to improve artificial islet transplantation success rate

January 17, 2020 | Researchers from IBBME developed a method to improve the transplantation success rate of artificial islets.

IBBME startup partner receives FDA ‘breakthrough’ status in dialysis product

October 25, 2019 | Interface Biologics’s (IBI) antithrombogenic additive have been used in a new line of FDA-approved “breakthrough” dialysis products made by IBI’s partner, Fresenius Medical Care.

Building the perfect restoration

September 5, 2019 | Multidisciplinary team awarded five year, $1M project grant to develop a new filling material

This U of T Engineering innovation makes implants safer, and is attracting new investment to Toronto

September 3, 2019 | Global chemical company Evonik will maintain presence in Toronto after acquiring part of U of T spinoff Interface Biologics, Inc.

New study suggests alternate mechanism during wound repair

May 31, 2019 | Macrophages may respond to mechanical signals sent out by fibroblasts during wound repair.