IBB Distinguished Lecture

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Ph.D. - Columbia University

"Engineering Human Tissues for Medical Impact"

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Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Ph.D.
University Professor
The Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medicine 
Professor of Dental Medicine
Director, Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering
Columbia University

In this seminar we will discuss IP strategies and best practices for filing patent applications including considerations around Platform versus Product Technologies and its ramifications for technology commercialization.

The classical paradigm of tissue engineering involves the integrated use of human stem cells, biomaterials (providing a structural and logistic template for tissue formation) and bioreactors (providing environmental control, dynamic sequences of molecular and physical signaling, and insights into the structure and function of the forming tissues). This biomimetic approach results in an increasingly successful representation of the environmental milieu of tissue development, regeneration and disease. Living human tissues are now being tailored to the patient and the condition being treated. A reverse paradigm is emerging in recent years, with the development of the “organs on a chip” platforms for modeling of integrated human physiology, using micro-tissues derived from human iPS cells and functionally connected by vascular perfusion. In all cases, the critical questions relate to our ability to recapitulate the cell niches, using biomaterials, molecular and physical regulatory factors. To illustrate the state of the art in the field and reflect on the current challenges and opportunities, this talk will discuss: (i) anatomically correct bone regeneration, (ii) bioengineering of the lung, and (iii) the use of “organs on a chip” for patient-specific studies of human physiology, injury, healing and disease.

About the Speaker
Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic is University Professor, the highest academic rank at Columbia University and the first engineer at Columbia to receive this distinction. The focus of her lab is on engineering functional human tissues for use in regenerative medicine and patient-specific “organs-on-a-chip” for studies of human physiology in health and disease. She is well published and highly cited, has mentored over 150 trainees, and launched four biotech companies from her lab. She is serving on the Council of the NIBIB, the HHMI Scientific Review Board, and on numerous editorial and scientific advisory boards. She was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame, received the Clemson Award of the Biomaterials Society, Pritzker Award of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Shu Chien Award of the AIChE, Pierre Galletti award of the AIMBE, and was elected Fellow of several professional societies. She was decorated by the Order of Karadjordje Star - Serbia’s highest honor, and elected to the Academia Europaea, Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Inventors, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the International Academy for Medical and Biological Engineering.