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Tissue Engineering Research Spotlights

About the Journal:   Part APart B: ReviewsPart C: Methods

Tissue Engineering is The Official Journal of

Robby Bowles George T.-J. Huang Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic Gail E. Besner Lars Lidgren Linda A. Dahlgren Aaron W. James David K. Wood Raquel Núñez Toldrà Swee-Hin Teoh, Ph.D. Damien Le Nihouannen, Ph.D.

Researcher Spotlight


Damien Le Nihouannen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Physiologie
Division of BioEngineering
Université de Bordeaux

Damien Le Nihouannen

Dr. Le Nihouannen is a biologist and an expert in bone tissue. His research focuses on bone cell communication and biomaterials for bone tissue engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Bone Tissue Engineering (Nantes, France) and moved to McGill University for a postdoctoral internship. For 4 years, he worked on osteoclast physiology and synthetic materials for bone defects. In 2010, he got a permanent position as Associate Professor at the University of Bordeaux (France) where he is heading a Master program in Biomaterials and continue his researches to improve tissue regeneration and bone healing.

For more, read about Dr. Le Nihouannen's recent work in Tissue Engineering Part C:

SGrémare A, Aussel A, Bareille R, Paiva Dos Santos B, Amédée J, Thebaud NB, Le Nihouannen D. A unique tri-culture model to study osteoblasts, osteoclasts and endothelial cells interactions. Tissue Engineering Part C. 2019 June 6.


Researcher Spotlight


Swee-Hin Teoh, Ph.D.

President's Chair and Director
Division of BioEngineering
Nanyang Technological University

Swee-Hin Teoh

Professor Swee-Hin Teoh, President's Chair School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore, is known for the clinical translation of 3D printed bioresorbable scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. His significant awards include the "Golden Innovation Award", Far East Economic Review, and the Institute of Engineers Singapore "Prestigious Engineering Achievement Award" (2004). With over 260 research publications and 22 patents and technical disclosures, he is a leader in translational regenerative medicine. His research focuses on translating materials research for biomedical benefits and in biaxial bioreactor technology that mimics the physiologic conditions of the body. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Engineers Singapore and Chief Engineer at the Skin Research Institute of Singapore. He was Chair of the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering from 2012 to 2016 and saw the school rank rose from 36 to 14. He has also won numerous awards in education and was awarded the prestigious NTU Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Faculty Nominee Award of 2017 for his exemplary role model for caring for students.

For more, read about Dr. Teoh's recent work in Tissue Engineering Part C:

Suryani L, Too JH, Hassanbhai AM, Wen F, Lin DJ, Yu N, Teoh S-H. Effects of Electromagnetic Field on Proliferation, Differentiation, and Mineralization of MC3T3 Cells. Tissue Engineering Part C. 2019 Feb 19.


Researcher Spotlight


Raquel Núñez Toldrà, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral Researcher, Division of Cardiovascular Science
Imperial College London

Raquel Núñez Toldrà

Vascularization of large bone grafts is one of the main challenges that limit the clinical application of bone tissue engineering approaches. In this way, cell co-culture, which involves the cross-talk between endothelial and osteogenic cells from different cell sources, has shown to be an effective strategy for pre-vascularization. The work of Dr. Raquel Núñez Toldrà involves use of inorganic ions dissolved from Bioactive Glasses (BaG) in a cell coculture system to induce vascularized bone formation in vitro. Her team used human dental pulp pluripotent-like stem cells (DPPSCs) from a single individual source obtained in a minimally invasive extraction manner. DPPSCs show high plasticity and great capacity to differentiate into different tissues. The combination of bone-like DPPSC and endothelial-like DPPSC induced vascularized bone formation from a unique stem cell population. Moreover, these experiments were carried out under xeno-free conditions, allowing the extrapolation of the results to the development of clinically orientated applications. Overall, her work provides a promising new system to promote the success and survival of bone tissue engineering constructs after implantation.

For more, read about Dr. Núñez Toldrà's recent work in Tissue Engineering Part A:

Núñez-Toldrà R, Montori S, Bosch B, Hupa L, Atari M, Miettinen S. Bioactive Glass Inorganic Ions for Vascularized Bone Tissue Engineering by Dental Pulp Pluripotent-Like Stem Cell Cocultures. Tissue Engineering Part A. 2019 Feb 27.


Researcher Spotlight


David K. Wood, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
University of Minnesota

David K. Wood

Dr. Wood's work is focused on the development of engineered in vitro model systems that bridge the gap between existing in vitro culture systems and animal models to study mechanisms of pathology and to develop new therapeutics. His team leverages microtechnology to control cell-cell interactions, tissue architecture, and physical and chemical cues at physiologic scales to recapitulate in vivo microenvironments while allowing for real time imaging and analysis. His lab has a major focus on studying the pathophysiology of sickle cell disease, understanding the process of cancer metastasis, and developing platforms for 3D tissue culture that are amenable to high throughput screening.

For more, read about Dr. Wood's recent work in Tissue Engineering Part C:

Crampton AL, Cummins KA, Wood DK. A High-Throughput Workflow to Study Remodeling of Extracellular Matrix-Based Microtissues. Tissue Engineering Part C. 2019 June 5.


Researcher Spotlight


Aaron W. James, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Pathology
Johns Hopkins University

Aaron W. James, MD, PhD

Dr. James is a physician-scientist and bone tissue pathologist, with research interest in mesenchymal progenitor cells and bone tissue engineering. His clinical and research training was performed at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Stanford University, and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). For the last two years, he has led a research team at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) seeking to understanding the cellular and molecular bases of bone tissue regeneration in an effort to heal bones faster and better. His work has been published in 141 peer-reviewed publications and has been cited over 3,900 times.

For more, read about Dr. James's recent work in Tissue Engineering Part A:

NZhang L, Chang L, Xu J, Meyers CA, Yan N, Zou E, Ding C, Ting K, Soo C, Pang S, and James AW Frontal Bone Healing Is Sensitive to Wnt Signaling Inhibition via Lentiviral-Encoded Beta-Catenin Short Hairpin RNA. Tissue Engineering Part A. 2018 August 20.


Researcher Spotlight


Linda A. Dahlgren, DVM, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences
Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

Linda A. Dahlgren, DVM, PhD

Dr. Dahlgren started working in the field of tendon and ligament biology during her Large Animal Surgery Residency at Iowa State University more than 20 years ago. Her lab at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, established in 2004, focuses on comparative aspects of tendon biology in people and horses, including the biology of tendon healing and the role of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) as trophic mediators. Dr. Dahlgren has a long-standing collaboration with Dr. Aaron Goldstein (Chemical Engineering, Virginia Tech) using bioactive scaffolds to provide topographical, mechanical, and biochemical cues to guide cell differentiation and extracellular matrix deposition for ligament tissue engineering. Dr. Dahlgren's recent publication using the transcription factor Scleraxis in combination with cyclic mechanical strain to drive MSC differentiation toward a ligament morphology is largely the work of Dr. Anne Nichols in partial fulfillment of her PhD in Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences.

For more, read about Dr. Dahlgren's work in Tissue Engineering Part A:

CNichols AEC, Were SR, Dahlgren LA Transient Scleraxis Overexpression Combined with Cyclic Strain Enhances Ligament Cell Differentiation. Tissue Engineering Part A. 2018 May 10.


Researcher Spotlight


Lars Lidgren, MD, PhD

Senior Professor, Department of Orthopedics
Lund University

Lars Lidgren, MD, PhD

Lars Lidgren received his MD in 1971, PhD in 1973, and became Chair of the Department of Orthopedics at Lund University in 1990. He has been one of the pioneers in systemic antibiotic prophylaxis in joint replacement and is the inventor of several new methods treating chronic osteomyelitis, bacterial arthritis, and knee prosthetic infection. Forty years ago, he started hands-on joint replacement courses. He has published extensively on national implant registers and biomaterials. In addition, a recent focus of his research has been cell-recruiting peptides and antibiotic-containing synthetic bone. Dr. Lidgren has authored and co-authored more than 400 publications in the fields of orthopaedics, biomaterials, infectious diseases, and tissue engineering. Dr. Lidgren is an honorary member of several major societies, including AAOS, RCS, EFORT and ICOR. In 1998, he initiated the worldwide Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010. He is founder of the biotech companies Bone Support and Scandimed.

For more, read about Dr. Wood's recent work in Tissue Engineering Part A:

Sirka A, Raina DB, Isaksson H, Tanner KE, Smailys A, Kumar A, Tarasevicius S, Tägil M, Lidgren L. Calcium Sulphate/Hydroxyapatite Carrier for Bone Formation in the Femoral Neck of Osteoporotic Rats. Tissue Engineering Part A. 2018 June 1.


Researcher Spotlight


Gail E. Besner, MD

Chief, Department of Pediatric Surgery
Nationwide Children's Hospital

Gail E. Besner, MD

As a surgeon and scientist, Dr. Besner holds the H. William Clatworthy, Jr. Chair in Surgery and is the Chief of Pediatric Surgery at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Her research focuses on identifying novel therapeutic strategies to protect the intestines from necrotizing enterocolitis as well as the production of tissue engineered intestine for the treatment of short bowel syndrome. Dr. Besner's research has received continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health for the past 23 years. Dr. Besner received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and medical degree from the University of Cincinnati, completed her General Surgery Residency at the Brigham & Women's Hospital, Pediatric Surgery training at Buffalo Children's Hospital, and research training in the laboratory of Dr. Judah Folkman where she discovered a new growth factor known as heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF). Dr. Besner has made important contributions in both the clinical and basic science arenas. She is the author of more than 190 articles and has delivered over 450 local, national, and international presentations.

For more, read about Dr. Besner's work in Tissue Engineering Part A:

Liu Y, Cromeens BP, Wang Y, Fisher K, Johnson J, Chakroff J, and Gail E. Besner Comparison of Different In Vivo Incubation Sites to Produce Tissue-Engineered Small Intestine. Tissue Engineering Part A. 2018 March 1.


Researcher Spotlight


Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD

University Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Columbia University

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD

Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic is University Professor, the highest academic rank reserved for only a few active professors, and the Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medicine at Columbia University. She is a world expert in engineering of human tissues for regenerative medicine and modeling of disease. With over 38,000 citations and h=112, she is one of the most highly cited individuals of all times. With her students, Dr Vunjak-Novakovic founded four biotech companies that are all based in New York City. She is a frequent advisor to government and industry. Among her many distinctions, she is a member of the Academia Europaea, AAAS, American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine, and National Academy of Inventors.

For more, read about Dr. Vunjak-Novakovic's work in Tissue Engineering Part A:

Bernhard JC, Hulphers E, Rieder B, Ferguson J, Rünzler D, Nau T, Redl H, and Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic Perfusion Enhances Hypertrophic Chondrocyte Matrix Deposition, But Not the Bone Formation. Tissue Engineering Part A. 2018 March 2.


Researcher Spotlight


George T.-J. Huang, DDS, MSD, DSc

Professor, Department of Bioscience Research
University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry

George T.-J. Huang, DDS, MSD, DSc

Dr. Huang first began working with dental stem cells in early 2000. Per Dr. Huang, his team was the first to show that dental stem cells can be utilized to de novo regenerate dental pulp and dentin in an emptied root canal space in vivo using a small animal model (2009). He also led efforts to investigate the molecular biology of dental stem cells in the context of their applications for pulp regeneration, including their stemness and differentiation into odontoblast lineages. He has worked extensively to provide prospective to the field in terms of outlining the important progress in the field of pulp regeneration and prospectively discussing what remains to be investigated in order to launch stem cell-based pulp regeneration in humans. Furthermore, besides establishing a tooth fragment model using SCID mice to study pulp regeneration which has since been used by many researchers in the field, his group also established a large animal model using mini-swine to investigate pulp and dentin tissue regeneration.

For more, read about Dr. Huang's recent work in Tissue Engineering Part A:

Zhu X , Liu J, Yu Z , Chen C-A, Aksel H , Azim AA, and Huang G T.-J Miniature Swine Model for Stem Cell-Based De Novo Regeneration of Dental Pulp and Dentin-Like Tissue. Tissue Engineering Part A. 2018 Feb 1.


Researcher Spotlight


Dr. Robby Bowles, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Bioengineering
University of Utah

Dr. Robby Bowles, PhD

Dr. Bowles's lab is focused on engineering cell function to better control tissue development in engineered tissues. He utilizes recent advances in CRISPR epigenome regulation of gene expression to precisely control cell activity in engineered tissues and is specifically interested in applying these techniques for use in tissue engineering, gene therapy, and immunoengineering to modulate tissue development and intervertebral disc degeneration for the treatment of back pain. Focused on back pain, a leading cause of disability, his lab is focused on modulating the interactions between the biomechanics of the intervertebral disc, the inflammatory environment of the intervertebral disc and the peripheral nervous system to both develop a better understanding of back pain and to develop novel therapeutics.

For more, read about Dr. Bowles's recent work in Tissue Engineering Part A:

Farhang N, Brunger JM, Stover JD, Thakore PI, Lawrence B, Guilak F, Gersbach CA, Setton LA, Bowles RD. CRISPR-Based Epigenome Editing of Cytokine Receptors for the Promotion of Cell Survival and Tissue Deposition in Inflammatory Environments. Tissue Engineering Part A. 2017 Feb 28.