Anthony Atala is the Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and the W.H. Boyce Professor and Chair of the Department of Urology at Wake Forest University. Dr. Atala is a practicing surgeon and a researcher in the area of regenerative medicine. His current work focuses on growing new human cells, tissues and organs.
Current Concepts and Changing Trends
Patients with diseased or injured organs may be treated with transplanted organs. There is a severe shortage of donor organs which is worsening yearly due to the aging population. Regenerative medicine and tissue engineering apply the principles of cell transplantation, material sciences, and bioengineering to construct biological substitutes that may restore and maintain normal function in diseased and injured tissues. Stem cells may offer a potentially limitless source of cells for tissue engineering applications and are opening new options for therapy. Recent advances that have occurred in regenerative medicine will be reviewed and applications of these new technologies that may offer novel therapies for patients with end-stage tissue and organ failure will be described.
Dr. Atala is a recipient of many awards, including the US Congress funded Christopher Columbus Foundation Award, bestowed on a living American who is currently working on a discovery that will significantly affect society, the World Technology Award in Health and Medicine, presented to individuals achieving significant, lasting progress, the Samuel D. Gross Prize, awarded every 5 years to a national leading surgical researcher by the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery, the Barringer Medal from the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons, and the Gold Cystoscope award from the American Urological Association for advances in the field. In 2011 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Atala was named by Scientific American as a Medical Treatments Leader of the Year for his contributions to the fields of cell, tissue and organ regeneration. Dr. Atala’s work was listed as Time Magazine’s top 10 medical breakthroughs of the year, and as Discover Magazine`s Number 1 Top Science Story of the Year in the field of medicine in 2007. A Time Magazine poll ranked Dr. Atala as the 56th most influential person of the year in 2007. In 2009 Dr. Atala was featured in U.S. News & World Report as one of 14 Pioneers of Medical Progress in the 21st Century, and his work in 2010 was listed by Smithsonian Magazine as one of 40 things to know about the next 40 years. Dr. Atala’ work was listed in the Huffington post as one of 18 great ideas of 2011, and in Time Magazine as one of the top 5 medical breakthroughs of the year
Dr. Atala has led or served several national professional and government committees, including the National Institutes of Health working group on Cells and Developmental Biology, the National Institutes of Health Bioengineering Consortium, and the National Cancer Institute’s Advisory Board. Dr. Atala heads a team of approximately 300 physicians and researchers. Ten applications of technologies developed in Dr. Atala’s laboratory have been used clinically. He is the editor of twelve books, including Principles of Regenerative Medicine, Foundations of Regenerative Medicine, Methods of Tissue Engineering, and Minimally Invasive Urology. He has published more than 300 journal articles and has applied for or received over 200 national and international patents.
The Hubbard Howe Jr. Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering and Professor of Bioengineering, UC Berkeley
Director of the Physical Biosciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center,
CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute
Synthetic Biology for Synthetic Fuels
Today, carbon-rich fossil fuels, primarily oil, coal and natural gas, provide 85% of the energy consumed in the United States. As world demand increases, oil reserves may become rapidly depleted. Fossil fuel use increases CO2 emissions and raises the risk of global warming. The high-energy content of liquid hydrocarbon fuels makes them the preferred energy source for all modes of transportation. In the US alone, transportation consumes around 13.8 million barrels of oil per day and generates over 0.5 gigatons of carbon per year. This release of greenhouse gases has spurred research into alternative, non-fossil energy sources. Among the options (nuclear, concentrated solar thermal, geothermal, hydroelectric, wind, solar and biomass), only biomass has the potential to provide a high-energy-content transportation fuel. Biomass is a renewable resource that can be converted into carbon-neutral transportation fuels.
Jay Keasling received his B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from the University of Nebraska in 1986; his Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1991; and did post-doctoral work in Biochemistry at Stanford University from 1991-1992. Keasling joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley as an assistant professor in 1992, where he is currently the Hubbard Howe Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering. Keasling is also a professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Berkeley, a Sr. Faculty Scientist and Associate Laboratory Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Chief Executive Officer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute. Dr. Keasling’s research focuses on engineering microorganisms for environmentally friendly synthesis of small molecules or degradation of environmental contaminants. Keasling’s laboratory has engineered bacteria and yeast to produce polymers, a precursor to the anti-malarial drug artemisinin, and advanced biofuels and soil microorganisms to accumulate uranium and to degrade nerve agents.
Professor & Chair, Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University
Paul Debreczeny Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Pharmacology, and Chair of the Curriculum in Applied Sciences and Engineering, UNC
Professor of Materials Science & Engineering, NCSU
Microdevices for Cells, Tissues, and Organs
The ability to monitor and manipulate the microenvironment of cells and tissues is one of the most promising applications for microengineered systems. Because of the wide utility of these miniaturized devices, development of novel fabrication strategies is a major ongoing research focus and there remains a need for simple, robust strategies to fabricate complex 3-D microstructures from a wide range of materials. We have developed simple, inexpensive fabrication methods utilizing photoresists, plastics, and hydrogels for cell-based arrays, organ-on-chips, and tissue scaffolds. The fabricated devices include detachable, deformable, or biodegradable array elements designed for cell analysis and sorting. Replica molding for polymers such as polystyrene was utilized to produce biologically acceptable fluidic devices and arrays. Finally, we present a novel method to fabricate a variety of 3-D microstructures with curved surfaces and complex architectures for applications in optics and cell/tissue scaffolds.
Dr. Allbritton obtained her B.S. in physics from Louisiana State University, her Ph.D. in Medical Physics/Medical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University. Upon completion of a postdoctoral fellowship in cell biology at Stanford University, she joined the faculty of the University of California at Irvine in 1994 where she held joint appointments in the Departments of Physiology and Biophysics, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Chemical Engineering & Materials Science. She has received numerous awards including a Beckman Young Investigator Award, and a Searle Scholar Award. She joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) as the Debreczeny Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry in July, 2007 followed by a joint appointment with the School of Medicine in the Department of Pharmacology. In 2009, she was appointed Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, a joint department between the School of Medicine at UNC and the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University. Dr. Allbritton’s research studies are directed at the development of new technologies by bringing to bear methods from engineering, chemistry, physics and biology to address biomedical problems. This research program has been heavily funded by the National Institutes of Health with over $40 million in grant funding since 1994. Dr. Allbritton is the scientific founder of two companies, Protein Simple and Cell Microsystems, and has 8 issued patents with over 20 more pending.