Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Center (BMTEC)


Tissue engineering is an emerging multidisciplinary field involving biology, medicine, materials and engineering that is likely to revolutionize the ways we improve the health and quality of life for millions of people worldwide by restoring, maintaining, or enhancing tissue and organ function. For therapeutic applications, the tissue can be regenerated within the patient or outside the patient and then gets transplanted. Tissue engineering can also have diagnostic applications where the engineered tissue can be used to test drug metabolism and uptake, toxicity, and pathogenicity. Important research areas in tissue engineering include biomaterials and bioprinting, stem cell engineering, biomolecular engineering, cell and biomechanics, etc.

The mission of the IEM Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Center (BMTEC) is to synergize the expertise in biomaterials, bioprinting, cell and developmental biology, and medical research in the San Diego community and to translate it for clinical applications. Given its multiscale and multidisciplinary nature, tissue engineering can benefit immensely from collaboration between Engineering, Physical Sciences, and the Health Sciences. UCSD has a strong team of faculty with expertise in tissue engineering and stem cell in the Jacobs School of Engineering, the School of Medicine, Division of Biological Sciences, and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Our expertise covers a variety of tissues such as bone, cartilage, muscle, neuron, cardiac, liver, kidney, eye, and brain using various biomaterials. The BMTEC investigators have a unique capability in addressing the lengthscale issues of tissue growth from nanometer to micrometer and organ scale using novel biomaterials and bioprinting techniques. We also have the expertise to investigate the timescale issues in tissue engineering using time-resolved sensing and imaging techniques. Biomechanics issues involved in various cell and tissue types are also important research topics at BMTEC. We will emphasize translational research so that fundamental knowledge in tissue science and engineering can be applied to clinical problems.

In addition to faculty collaboration, the BMTEC will provide a training platform for undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. We will apply for training grants from NIH and NSF in the biomaterials and tissue engineering areas. We will also organize seminars in this area to share cutting-edge research.

The BMTEC will develop international collaboration with key players in EU and Asia. We will provide opportunities for student exchange among the partners. The BMTEC will also seek strong partnership with industry. For example, we will work with Organovo for 3D bioprinting. Using in vitro 3D-printed tissue models, we will collaborate with pharmaceutical companies for early drug screening.

Within IEM, the BMTEC will bring complementary science and technologies to other centers. For example, our 3D bioprinting techniques can create various in vitro tissue modes and medical devices for the Center for Medical Device and Instrumentation, Retinal Engineering Center, Cardiac Biomedical Science and Engineering Center, Center for Musculoskeletal Research, and Center of Excellence for Nano-medicine and Engineering. Our novel biomaterials, biomimetic structures, and tissue models will also benefit many IEM centers.



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