Northwestern University receives $7.5 million for regenerative medicine

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A group of seven Northwestern University scientists, engineers and physicians who are tackling two critical health problems -- the treatment of paralysis and diabetes -- has received $7.5 million over five years from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The grant is part of NIBIB's Bioengineering Research Partnership (BRP) program. A BRP is a multi-disciplinary research team applying an integrative, systems approach to develop knowledge and methods to prevent, detect, diagnose or treat disease.

The Northwestern researchers, who ultimately would like to help paralyzed people walk again and enable diabetic individuals to lead a normal life without daily treatments or organ donations, are using regenerative medicine as their approach to achieving these goals.

"Regenerative medicine is one of the great biomedical challenges of this century as we seek to regenerate parts of the human body lost to trauma, disease and genetic factors," said principal investigator Samuel I. Stupp, director of the Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine (IBNAM) at Northwestern. "New technologies from physical sciences and engineering, coupled with knowledge in advanced cell biology, are required to make this happen."

The BRP team -- representing the fields of chemistry, materials science, chemical and biomedical engineering, neurology, endocrinology and transplant surgery -- is focusing on a key component of regenerative medicine: synthetic scaffolds and their interactions with cells. Without the development of effective scaffold technologies Stupp doubts significant progress can be made in regenerative medicine.

The six other investigators on the team, who are all affiliated with IBNAM, are Annelise E. Barron, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering; Dixon B. Kaufman, M.D., professor and vice chair for research in the department

Contact: Megan Fellman
Northwestern University

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