Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine

Research that has the potential to change how we think about disease and aging is happening at IBBME. Regenerative medicine uses stem cells and biomaterials to repair, replace or regenerate damaged tissue, organ structures and function.

Designing regenerative medicine to treat degenerative diseases

Professors Molly Shoichet and Penney Gilbert

IBBME professors Molly Shoichet (left) and Penney Gilbert are renowned stem cell researchers who play key roles in U of T’s Medicine by Design initiative.

More than 100 researchers from the University of Toronto and its partner hospitals are collaborating as part of U of T’s Medicine by Design initiative to enhance fundamental discoveries and develop new therapies to treat degenerative diseases.

Led by University Professor Michael Sefton with a historic $114-million grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, this initiative fosters multidisciplinary collaboration among engineers, scientists and clinicians to solidify Canada’s position as a leader in regenerative medicine, cell therapy discovery and translation.

Advancing treatments for heart failure

Craig Simmons

Professor Craig Simmons leads an interdisciplinary team of eight researchers and their students from U of T Engineering, Medicine and Dentistry to advance discoveries and accelerate new treatments for heart failure and cardiovascular disease.

As the scientific director of the Translational Biology & Engineering Program (TBEP), the U of T arm of the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research (TRCHR), he brings together experts in engineering and medicine to uncover mechanisms of disease, develop new diagnostic tests for early detection, and create therapeutic strategies using molecules, cells and biomaterials to regenerate heart tissues.

The goal: improve the lives of one million Canadians with heart failure and reduce the estimated $3-billion cost to our health-care system.

Growing heart and liver tissue for safer drug testing and more

Professor Milica Radisic

Professor Milica Radisic’s team works on growing human tissue in artificial environments as platforms for developing and testing new drugs, and with the potential to one day, repair or replace damaged organs.

Their creations have included Biowire™, a method of growing heart cells around a silk suture, “Hook-in-Tissue,” a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together like Velcro®, and AngioChip, a system built in a normal cell culture dish that allows lab-grown heart and liver tissue to function and interact like the real thing.

Today, the team is already working on commercializing these technologies through TARA Biosystems Inc., a spinoff company co-founded by Radisic.