Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine have slowly gained traction in the biomedical and clinical field since before the Vacanti mouse more than 20 years ago. Clinical approaches based on complex tissue engineering promise to revolutionize the field of medicine and enable personalized patient treatment and care. However, the field of 3D printing and bioprinting, which enables the engineering and fabrication of such complex tissues, is still in its infancy and demands concerted efforts from researchers across the biomedical field to bring transformative solutions to the patients.
The Center for Engineering Complex Tissues (CECT) is a joint collaboration between researchers from the University of Maryland (Dr. John Fisher), Rice University (Dr. Antonios Mikos), and Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (Drs. Anthony Atala and James Yoo). The objective is to collaborate and develop new technologies to further research in the fields of tissue engineering, 3D printing, and bioprinting. The center builds upon a strong pre-existing foundation of collaboration and cooperation between the three universities, and extends it to collaborators and partners across other institutions, both academic and industrial.
On April 15, 2017, the Center was awarded a $6.25 Million grant by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) sector of the National Institute of Health (NIH), officially making the Center a NIBIB/NIH Biomedical Technology Resource Center (BTRC). Since then, there have been strides in research by all three universities, including Wake Forest’s Body-on-a-Chip project and Rice University and the University of Maryland’s work on improved 3D printed scaffolds and biomaterials.