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

Engineering soft connective tissues with biomimetic mechanical properties 

A team of researchers at the University of Toronto, led by Professor Craig Simmons, has introduced a novel method to engineer soft connective tissues with prescribed mechanical properties similar to those of native tissues. This finding, published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, can propel the generation of more realistic tissues and organs for regenerative medicine in the future.

Donnelly Centre to House New Self-Driving Lab to Innovate Next-Generation Human Tissue Models

The Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research is home to a new self-driving lab (SDL), borne out of a $200 million grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund to the Acceleration Consortium.

New research paper unveils breakthrough sensor for real-time cellular analysis in living zebrafish embryos

In a study published today, researchers from the University of Toronto have introduced an innovative biosensor, Apollo-NADP+, in living zebrafish embryos to track molecular metabolism. The study, featured in Science Advances, sheds light on the potential applications of this cutting-edge technology in understanding cellular processes and addresses a critical question in diabetes research.

New microcredentials to strengthen the talent pipeline for Canada’s biomanufacturing industry

U of T Engineering has partnered with CCRM, BioZone and the School of Continuing Studies on a new set of microcredentials that will help workers across Canada’s biomanufacturing industry to upgrade or strengthen their skills.

Researchers are creating algorithms to accelerate the development of new cellular therapies to repair damaged tissues

New innovations in the ways that human cells are grown in laboratories could help speed up the development of cellular therapy, a branch of regenerative medicine that targets diseases that are incurable today. According to Professor Julie Audet (BME), some of the most significant challenges to achieving this goal have to do with how the therapeutic cells are produced.

New study uncovers mechanism of cell movement in heart development

Researchers at the University of Toronto and the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research have identified a previously unknown mechanism that governs the movement of cardiac progenitors during heart development in fruit fly embryos. By using advanced imaging techniques, mathematical modelling and genetic and biophysical manipulations, Dr. Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez and colleagues shed light on the formation of the early heart tube and provide insights into the cellular causes of congenital heart defects.