RMT Podcast #36 – Alejandro Nieponice, MD, PhD

Alejandro Nieponice, MD, PhD visits regenerative medicine today and discusses his studies related to tissue engineering and translational medicine. Dr. Alejandro Nieponice is currently a Research Assistant Professor of the department of surgery at University of Pittsburgh and faculty of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. He is also a surgical associate and director of the Clinical Translation Unit at the Austral University Hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Dr. Nieponice’s main goal is to foster clinical translation of novel tissue engineering approaches by bridging his surgical and research backgrounds. To accomplish that, he has promoted the creation of a Clinical Translation Unit within the operative room at the Austral University Hospital, providing full cell culture capabilities to facilitate clinical translation of cell-based technologies.

Details of Dr. Nieponice’s work are available here.

Host John Murphy.

For more information about the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, visit:
McGowan Institute Research Site
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RMT Podcast #35 – Milica Radisic, PhD

Dr. Milica Radisic visits Regenerative Medicine Today and discusses her studies related to functional tissue engineering. Dr. Radisic is an Assistant Professor, Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto.

In the podcast, Dr. Radisic discusses the research in the Laboratory for Functional Tissue Engineering at the University of Toronto; focus areas include:

  • Biomimetic approach to cardiac tissue engineering
  • Development of functional, clinically sized (1-5 mm thick), compact cardiac constructs with physiologically relevant cell densities (108 cells/cm3)
  • Advanced bioreactors for functional tissue engineering of myocardium
  • Biophysical modulation of engineered myocardium
  • Separation of heterogeneous cell populations (MEMS)

For more information on Dr. Radisic, please click here.

Host John Murphy.

For more information about the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, visit:
McGowan Institute Research Site
McGowan Institute Patient Site
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RMT Podcast #33 – David Sacks, PhD

Dr. Michael Sacks visits Regenerative Medicine Today and discusses his work on the characterization of cardiac tissue and the various alternatives-now and in the future-for the repair of heart valves.

Dr. Sacks is the director of the Engineered Tissue Mechanics and Mechanobiology Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh where the research focuses on the characterization and modeling of the structure-function-biomechanics of native and engineered soft tissues, and linking these studies to the underlying cellular mechanobiology.  One of the areas of interest is on the mechanical behavior and function of mitral heart valves, including the development of the first constitutive (stress-strain) models for these tissues using a structural approach.

In the podcast, Dr. Sacks discusses:

  • The roles/demands of different heart valves
  • The advantages of a pediatric tissue engineered heart valve
  • Mechanical and bio-prosthetic heart valves; capabilities and limitations
  • Clinical perspective prosthetic valves
  • Repair of valves vs. replacement
  • Tissue characterization

Dr. Sacks shares his vision on the state of the art and his perspective on the future opportunities for heart valve repair for children and for adults.

Host John Murphy.

For more information about the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, visit:
McGowan Institute Research Site
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RMT Podcast #29 – Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD

Dr. Stephen Badylak revisits Regenerative Medicine Today to share updates on his exciting studies on tissue engineering.  In February 2006, in Podcast #3 described his use of tissue engineering materials that helps heal skin wounds, torn tendons, injured rotator cuffs, hiatal hernias, and other soft tissue. In that podcast, Dr. Badylak recounted how he first discovered SIS (or small intestinal submucosa), the world-wide effort that helped to usher SIS from the lab to clinical use, and how the material works.

Today, Dr. Badylak describes the work of his lab and collaboration with other colleagues to use tissue engineering to:

  • Regenerate a diseased or damaged esophagus, and
  • Technology that may lead to the regeneration of damaged or severed digits or limbs

Dr. Badylak is a professor at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh. For more information about Dr. Badylak, please click here.

Host John Murphy.

For more information about the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, visit:
McGowan Institute Research Site
McGowan Institute Patient Site
McGowan Institute on Facebook
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RMT Podcast #24 – Alan Russell, PhD

As Regenerative Medicine Today celebrates its first anniversary, we welcome back our first guest from December 2005: Dr. Alan Russell, director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

As a pioneer of and expert in regenerative medicine, Dr. Russell is well qualified to comment on the status and future of this fascinating and rapidly emerging field . In this podcast, Dr. Russell addresses:

  • the history of the emergence of regenerative medicine, from over-hyped laboratory results, to failed medical devices, to successful clinical applications;
  • the role of governments in the advancing the state-of- the-art and the clinical use of regenerative medicine technologies;
  • initiatives to assist soldiers (and, ultimately, the civilian population) who have suffered massive loss of tissue due to trauma, and;
  • the status of the professional society that serves the scientists who are developing regenerative medicine technologies.

Hosts Leah Kauffman and John Murphy. Interview by Leah Kauffman.

For more information about the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, visit:

McGowan Institute Research Site
McGowan Institute Patient Site
McGowan Institute on Facebook
McGowan Institute on Twitter

RMT Podcast #20 – William Wagner, PhD

In our last two podcasts we learned about the bioengineering and clinical use of artificial heart technology. In today’s podcast, you’ll hear about another approach to treatment for heart failure using lab-grown tissues. Dr. William Wagner is working to reconstruct damaged arteries and veins with scaffolds, and is leading a team that is developing a tissue engineered cardiac patch that could help to strengthen heart muscle that has been damaged by a heart attack. Dr. Wagner also will tell us about his work to improve the interface between artificial devices and the body’s tissues, and about a new imaging technique his lab is working on that could help physicians view whether a transplanted heart has been rejected without performing a biopsy.

Dr. William Wagner is a deputy director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and associate professor of surgery, chemical engineering, and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh. To learn more about Dr. Wagner’s research, please click here.

Hosts Leah Kauffman and John Murphy. Interview by Leah Kauffman.

For more information about the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, visit:

McGowan Institute Research Site
McGowan Institute Patient Site
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RMT Podcast #15 – Kevin Shakesheff, PhD and Nicholas Rhodes, BSc, MSc, PhD

In podcast #15, we’ll meet two researchers with very different approaches to tissue regeneration. We met both at the 2006 Regenerate World Congress in April.

First we’ll hear from Dr. Kevin Shakesheff  of the University of Nottingham. He is developing new scaffolds from a familiar material: polylactic acid, the same stuff that makes up absorbable sutures. Dr. Shakesheff imagines outfitting surgeons with a syringe full of polylactic acid that is enhanced with growth factors — or even the patient’s own cells — to inject into an area that needs help to heal.

Our second interviewee, Dr. Nicholas Rhodes of the University of Liverpool, would like to do away with scaffolds altogether. Rather than introduce bioengineered materials into patients, he’d rather persuade a patient’s cells to do their own bioengineering. Dr. Rhodes is prompting regeneration by harnessing and directing the body’s natural inflammatory response.

Hosts Leah Kauffman and John Murphy. Interview by Leah Kauffman.

For more information about the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, visit:

McGowan Institute Research Site
McGowan Institute Patient Site
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RMT Podcast #13 – Professor Jons Hilborn and Ivan Martin, PhD

Bone Tissue Engineering

In podcast #13, we talk with Professor Jöns Hilborn and Dr. Ivan Martin, two experts in bone tissue engineering who attended the 2006 Regenerate World Congress in April.

Professor Hilborn of the Department of Materials Chemistry at Sweden’s Uppsala University is engineering cells to produce customized extracellular matrices, which his lab uses as scaffolds to guide the growth of new bone – eventually for the repair of skull and dental defects in humans. Professor Hilborn’s lab also develops new biomaterials that better match the natural tissues in which they are implanted. Finally, Professor Hilborn discusses the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS), which he serves as President-Elect.

Dr. Martin of the University Hospital of Basel, Switzerland uses a bioreactor – a sort of incubator – to encourage the generation of cartilage and bone. In a clinical trial soon to start, Dr. Martin’s team will seed ceramic particles with patients’ own bone marrow-derived progenitor cells, nurture them inside a bioreactor, then use the material to repair damaged disks in the spine. Dr. Martin hopes to expand this approach so that it can be used to span large bone breaks and defects, and he has an ambitious plan to make affordable bioreactors a standard part of the orthopedist’s toolbox.

Hosts Leah Kauffman and John Murphy. Interview by Leah Kauffman.

For more information about the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, visit:

McGowan Institute Research Site
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RMT Podcast #12 – Dr. David Williams and Mary Ann Liebert

Science Outside the Laboratory

In podcast #12, we talk with two more experts who attended the 2006 Regenerate World Congress in April: policy advisor Dr. David Williams and Ms. Mary Ann Liebert, a publisher.

Dr. Williams is an internationally recognized scientist and a leader in the development of policy and regulations related to regenerative medicine.  He leads the United Kingdom Centre for Tissue Engineering (UKCTE), a research collaboration among the University of Manchester and the University of Liverpool. The focus of the UKCTE is to extend the base of scientific knowledge that underpins tissue engineering and to translate this knowledge to the development of commercial products and clinical treatments for healing injured and diseased tissues.

Ms. Liebert is the publisher more than 60 respected books and scientific journals. Founded in 1980, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is universally acknowledged for publishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals, books, and trade magazines in the most promising areas of biotechnology, biomedical research/life sciences, clinical medicine and surgery, and law.  Such publications not only contribute significantly to the literature but play an active and important role in the advancement of their respective fields.

Hosts Leah Kauffman and John Murphy. Interview by Leah Kauffman.

For more information about the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, visit:

McGowan Institute Research Site
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RMT Podcast #11 – Anthony Atala, MD

The First Laboratory-Grown Organ

Dr. Anthony Atala made headlines in April 2006 when he announced that his team had successfully grown new bladders for seven patients with spina bifida, a condition in which the spinal column fails to completely close during fetal development. While healthy bladders maintain a reasonably low pressure as they fill with urine, the bladders of some spina bifida patients generate dangerously high pressures, causing kidney damage.

Dr. Atala’s tissue engineered bladders are made of a patient’s own cells grown on a custom mold designed to specifications provided by detailed CT scans of the patient’s pelvis. In podcast #11, you’ll hear Dr. Atala tell this fascinating story of innovation, along with some insight into how the field of regenerative medicine comes together as a community to work on challenges like creating whole organs from cells.

Anthony Atala, MD, is director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and chairman of the Department of Urology at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. For more information about Dr. Atala’s work, see the institute’s web page.

Hosts Leah Kauffman and John Murphy. Interview by Leah Kauffman.

For more information about the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, visit:

McGowan Institute Research Site
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RMT Podcast #9 – Savio Woo, PhD, DSc, DEng

Each year, approximately 200,000 persons in the United States suffer tears of their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).  Approximately 2/3 of those tears require surgical reconstruction (1/3 at the time of injury and 1/3 at a later time).

While orthopaedic surgeons are on the front line to repair tears of the ACL, Dr. Savio Woo and his team at the Muscular Skeletal Research Center (MSRC) are the important partners to the surgeons, developing a fundamental understanding of the function of the ACL and the other components of the knee.  Through the eyes of the biomedical engineer, the MSRC is developing a better understanding of the function of the ligaments and the MSRC has identified ways to optimize surgical procedures, and enhance successful outcomes.

As you’ll hear in podcast #9, Dr. Woo and his multidisciplinary team makes use of robotics to understand the role of the ACL and the other components of the knee.  They are also investigating the use of tissue engineered scaffolds to facilitate the repair of torn ACLs.  The attached graphic amplifies on the research strategies and focus areas of the MSRC.  To learn more about the work of Dr. Woo and his colleagues, see the MSRC web site.

Savio L-Y. Woo, PhD, DSc is the W.K. Whiteford Professor, Department of Bioengineering, and Professor-Mechanical Engineering, and Professor-Rehabilitation Science & Technology, University of Pittsburgh.  Dr. Woo is also Vice Chairman for Research, Mentorship/Internship Program, Department of Bioengineering.

Dr. Woo is a recipient of an Olympic Gold Metal in recognition of his untiring contributions to the science of sports medicine. As Dr. Woo details in the podcast, he and his wife have established the “Asian and American Institute for Education and Research” (ASIAM).

Hosts Leah Kauffman and John Murphy. Interview by Leah Kauffman.

For more information about the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, visit:

McGowan Institute Research Site
McGowan Institute Patient Site
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RMT Podcast #8 – Van Mow, PhD

You can’t make a working synthetic tissue or joint until you fully understand how a natural one functions. That’s the mantra of Dr. Van Mow, who has led the field of  tissue engineering decades, and a co-creator of the generalized theory of classical mechanics, which makes it possible to calculate the mechanical loads acting on our bodies as we perform everyday tasks.

As you’ll hear in podcast #8, Dr. Mow is now examining laboratory-made tissues to see if they can function as natural tissues do. If not, it’s back to the drawing board: Thanks to Dr. Mow’s guidance, regenerative medicine researchers are concentrating on doing work right, rather than first. He’s helped to bring the field through the overly-speculative 1990s, a time of what he calls “irrational exuberance,” to the nose-to-the-grindstone present, what Dr. Mow calls the era of “functional tissue engineering.”

Van C. Mow, PhD is the Stanley Dicker Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedic Bioengineering, and Chairman of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University.

The citation for the pivotal manuscript that Dr. Mow references in his discussion is:

Fung, Y.C.: Biomechanics: it’s scope, history, and some problems of continuum mechanics in physiology. Appl. Mech. Rev., 21: 1-20, 1968.

Hosts Leah Kauffman and John Murphy. Interview by Leah Kauffman.

For more information about the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, visit:

McGowan Institute Research Site
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RMT Podcast #3 – Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD

Regenerative Medicine Today welcomes Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD; Dr. Badylak is a Professor in the Department of Surgery, a deputy director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and Director of the Center for Pre-Clinical Tissue Engineering within the Institute. Dr. Badylak discusses his research with extra cellular matrix, or ECM.

For more information about Dr. Badylak, please click here

Hosts John Murphy and Leah Kauffman

For more information about the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, visit:
McGowan Institute Research Site
McGowan Institute Patient Site
McGowan Institute on Facebook

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RMT Podcast #1 – Alan Russell, PhD

Regenerative Medicine Today welcomes Dr. Alan Russell. Dr. Russell is the Founding Director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. In this inaugural podcast, he discusses the current state of regenerative medicine and where it is headed in the future.

Hosts John Murphy and Leah Kauffman

For more information about the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, visit:

McGowan Institute Research Site
McGowan Institute Patient Site
McGowan Institute on Facebook

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