The Georgia Institute of Technology's Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience is partnering for the second time with the University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine to organize and host the 17th Annual Hilton Head Workshop for Regenerative Medicine. The Hilton Head Workshop for Regenerative Medicine is an annual conference series initiated by Georgia Tech in 1997. The conference goals are to promote discussion, advance knowledge, and foster the formation of collaborative relationships between academic researchers, clinicians, and industry leaders to advance the science and the development of patient therapies. Conference keynote speakers are considered the foremost experts in their fields, and the conference attracts both a national and international audience. With new discoveries occurring almost weekly, particularly in the area of stem cell research, forums that allow scientists, bioengineers, and clinicians to interact and learn from one another are essential to the development of collaborative research initiatives and for identifying new research directions. The 2013 conference theme is "Regenerative Medicine: Technologies Enabling Novel Therapies" and will focus on progress and challenges with regenerative medicine in clinical applications. Session topics will highlight induced pluripotent stem cells, endogenous repair mechanisms, and immunological effects of regeneration, biomaterials, and clinical applications, among others. The Hilton Head Workshop is unique in that it is kept small (less than 230 participants) to maximize interactions and networking so that true collaborations can emerge. The conference provides professional development and networking opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral trainees that include participation in a poster presentation session, as well as plenary presentation opportunities for outstanding poster abstracts. The purpose of this proposal is to provide conference fee and travel funds for 24 students and postdoctoral trainees and six young faculties to attend the conference. The conference will be rigorously publicized to attract women and underrepresented minorities, with particular focus on historically black universities and medical schools, as well as individuals with disabilities.
Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine is a progressive, interdisciplinary field requiring the integration of bioengineering principles, fundamental biological concepts, and clinical application to achieve the ultimate goal of restoring function to injured or degenerated tissues. Damaged musculoskeletal tissues represent the most common cause of pain and functional disability in humans on a world scale. Bringing together regenerative medicine experts from a variety of scientific disciplines in a small conference setting is a highly effective way to convey knowledge and stimulate new ideas for developing new therapies and to overcome current barriers that inhibit successful clinical applications.