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Two Pitt researchers make 'Scientific American 50' of leaders in science and technology

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 13 -- Two University of Pittsburgh researchers have been selected by the Board of Editors of Scientific American magazine to its list of Scientific American 50 for 2006. The award recognizes research, business and policy leaders who have played a critical role driving key science and technology trends in the last year.

William R. Wagner, Ph.D., and Michael Sacks, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and department of bioengineering, were recognized for their research that has enabled the development of a novel biodegradable polymer-based scaffold that could one day serve as a tissue-engineered replacement for damaged pulmonary valves and other soft tissues.

The Scientific American 50 appears in the magazine's December issue, which is available online at www.sciam.com and will be on newsstands Nov. 21.

Dr. Wagner, deputy director of the McGowan Institute and associate professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and of chemical engineering and bioengineering, School of Engineering; and Dr. Sacks, the William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the department of bioengineering at Pitt's School of Engineering and director of McGowan's Engineered Tissue Mechanics Laboratory, have been collaborators for more than five years on a number of projects involving biomaterials and tissue mechanics. But it was their work developing and characterizing elastic polymer scaffolds loaded with cells that caught the attention of Scientific American.

Researchers in Dr. Wagner's laboratory developed a method using strong electrical fields to combine cells and polymer nanofibers that rapidly form elastic tissue-like scaffolds. The technique can place cells within fiber networks at the same scale found within the body's own tissue. Dr. Sacks' laboratory has characterized and modeled the function of these tissue scaffolds and
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Contact: Lisa Rossi
RossiL@upmc.edu
412-647-3555
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
13-Nov-2006


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