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:

Biomaterials

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

What Sits at the Centre of Wound Healing?

October 19, 2021 | The science of rapid wound healing has new insights due to discoveries in fruit flies from the Fernandez-Gonzalez lab at University of Toronto. Collaboration, community and perseverance has resulted in an article published in the journal Cell Reports as “p38-mediated cell growth and survival drive rapid embryonic wound repair”.

New Medicine by Design-funded method for testing muscle repair in a dish to impact development of stem cell-based therapies

October 7, 2021 | Scientists out of two labs at the University of Toronto have discovered a novel way to test self-repair of skeletal muscle, and this method has the potential to rapidly advance the development of treatments for diseases like muscular dystrophy (MD) and other degenerative muscle conditions.

Portrait of Craig Simmons

Dr. Craig Simmons named BMES Fellow of 2021

September 24, 2021 | Professor Craig Simmons was inducted as a Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) fellow among 19 other internationally recognized scientists and engineers. As a BMES fellow, Dr. Simmons was recognized internationally for his innovative and wide-ranging contributions to both fundamental science and practical applications in the field of mechanobiology.

Putting Down Roots

September 7, 2021 | Drs. Cristina Nostro and Sara Nunes Vasconcelos, with their postdoctoral fellow Dr. Yasaman Aghazadeh, have engineered a new method to improve the survival and potency of such cell transplants.

Michael Sefton

With a focus on skin cells, U of T’s Michael Sefton seeks ‘huge step forward’ in diabetes treatment

August 26, 2021 | Michael Sefton, a U of T tissue engineer and executive director of Medicine by Design, is investigating whether dendritic skin cells can aid in the successful transplantation of insulin-producing islet cells in diabetes patients.

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