CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - Hundreds of thousands of individuals across America--from service members, veterans and civilian survivors of traumatic accidents to patients with terminal diseases--suffer from irrecoverable tissue trauma and damage, left with ill-functioning tissues and organs that impede their quality of life. The University of Virginia School of Engineering and the University of Virginia School of Medicine launched the Center for Advanced Biomanufacturing to tackle this issue head-on, leading the latest advances in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
"We are right at the tipping point of translating the revolutionary idea of manufacturing tissues and organs into reality," said George Christ, director of the Center for Advanced Biomanufacturing and a professor of biomedical engineering and orthopedic surgery at the University of Virginia.
"However, solving this grand challenge requires the expertise and engagement of leaders from across our research institutions, government agencies, businesses and hospitals."
The Center for Advanced Biomanufacturing is laying the groundwork for that dynamic level of collaboration with its fourth-annual Mid-Atlantic Advanced Biomanufacturing Symposium on October 27 and 28. The symposium will be held at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business in Charlottesville, Va. Co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense-funded Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), the symposium presents an unmatched opportunity each year for experts to discuss, and surface, recent innovations in the field of biomanufacturing that can lead to breakthroughs in medical treatments.
The field has especially focused on the advanced biomanufacturing of human tissues and organs, which can address the growing waitlists for organ transplants and support safe, effective testing of experimental drugs.
"The discussions unfolding at our symposium reflect the great strides that the field of biomanufacturing has made in researching and developing life-saving regenerative materials," said Shayn Peirce-Cottler, co-director of this year's symposium and professor of biomedical engineering.
"Over just two days, we will make even further progress, coming together as a multidisciplinary community to discuss how to overcome existing barriers to regenerative breakthroughs--and raise big ideas that we have yet to even comprehend."
Over the course of the symposium, the Center for Advanced Biomanufacturing will facilitate sessions that address ongoing research in biomanufacturing of cells, tissues and organs; government funding for, and regulation of, biomanufactured products and biomaterials for clinical applications; as well as workforce development and the identification and marketing of regenerative medicine products for unmet medical needs.
Along with leading researchers from across UVA Engineering and the University of Virginia School of Medicine, biomanufacturing experts from Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Washington University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan are expected to attend the symposium.
Innovators from Embody, Smithfield Bioscience, Keranetics, Organovo, AlloSource, Amnion Foundation, RoosterBio, ACell, Integra and Miromatrix are also slated as attendees and presenters, offering critical insights on pathways to commercialize biomanufacturing breakthroughs.
The UVA Center for Advanced Biomanufacturing, which began with a $3 million seed investment in 2016 and benefits from close collaboration with UVA's School of Medicine, continues to catalyze progress in the field by drawing from cross-disciplinary expertise in data science, engineering and medicine. It also is able to leverage state-of-the art tools that include sophisticated nanoimprint lithography equipment and eight of the most advanced 3-D bioprinters in the country.
These regional symposia serve as testaments to the center's growing influence, expanding from a largely university-based group of researchers in 2016 to include leaders from across the field.
The University of Virginia will partner with the University of Pittsburgh and >Uniformed Services University the preceding week to host the eighth annual international symposium on regenerative rehabilitation, which will help surface novel materials used to treat the growing number of wounded warriors in our country.
"Over the past several years, we have been thrilled to position the Center as a hub for national biomanufacturing expertise, drawing from the tools and specialized knowledge at our disposal," said Christ.
"As we continue to convene research, government, and commercial partners from across the country, not only once a year but on a more frequent basis, we have the opportunity to lead the way in changing the lives of so many affected individuals (both Wounded Warriors and civilians) across our country that have no other medical recourse."
About the UVA Center for Advanced Biomanufacturing
The Center for Advanced Biomanufacturing consists of a collaborative team of interdisciplinary researchers, clinicians and educators who share two overarching goals: (1) develop biomanufacturing strategies and biomaterials for the scaled-up construction of structurally and functionally complex tissue systems and organs and (2) educate and train the next generation of technical experts and creators of bio-manufactured products to become leaders who drive this new industry forward.
About UVA Engineering
As part of the top-ranked, comprehensive University of Virginia, UVA Engineering is one of the nation's oldest and most respected engineering schools. Our mission is to make the world a better place by creating and disseminating knowledge and by preparing future engineering leaders. Outstanding students and faculty from around the world choose UVA Engineering because of our growing and internationally recognized education and research programs. UVA is the No. 1 public engineering school in the country for the percentage of women graduates, among schools with at least 75 degree earners; the No. 1 public engineering school in the United States for the four-year graduation rate of undergraduate students; and the top engineering school in the country for the rate of Ph.D. enrollment growth. Learn more at engineering.virginia.edu