This Conference Grant application will support a Pre-Conference Workshop on "Tissue Engineering for Pediatric Applications," to be held on December 11, 2011, in advance of the Annual Meeting of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society - North America (TERMIS-NA) in Houston, TX. The target audience is biomedical scientists, bioengineers, and clinicians. Many investigators in the field of tissue engineering cite congenital defects and other needs for regenerative medicine in children (among other reasons) as compelling justification for their research. However, pediatric applications actually represent a surprisingly small fraction of research presented and published in the tissue engineering field. The mission of this workshop is (i) to draw attention to the specific tissue engineering and regenerative medicine needs of prenatal, neonatal, and pediatric patients;(ii) to clarify how needs for pediatric patients differ from the needs of adult patients;(iii) to inform clinicians (pediatric or otherwise) about this research, especially those who might not otherwise attend the TERMIS-NA conference;(iv) to enhance collaboration and initiate discussions between pediatric clinicians and tissue engineering researchers;and (v) to provide a platform to highlight the research of young investigators in the field of pediatric tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. To accomplish this mission, we will feature a full day of keynote lectures and oral presentations describing research investigations on pediatric tissue engineering applications including but not limited to cardiovascular, orthopedic, craniofacial, gastrointestinal, and urological. We will feature a program of invited speakers at various academic ranks from clinical and basic research institutions. All of the speakers are involved in pediatric clinical practice and/or research involving tissue engineering for pediatric applications. Clinicians, biomedical scientists, and bioengineers will be able to interact and discuss future directions through panels held after the technical presentations and numerous opportunities for informal engagement. There will also be a section of the poster session of the main TERMIS-NA conference dedicated to pediatric applications, and awards for best trainee posters will be given. Women and minorities are represented in the list of invited speakers and serve on the conference organizing committee. In addition, we will encourage trainees and faculty who are women, under-represented minorities, or persons with disabilities to attend the workshop and apply for registration discounts. A significant portion of the attendees will be persons also attending the annual TERMIS-NA conference, although we will also target a broader audience (locally and nationally). To promote attendance by clinicians, we will hold the workshop on the weekend. Publicity about the workshop will include information about child care resources. The Houston locale, and the involvement of Texas Children's Hospital as the primary institutional sponsor, will provide a very strong scientific environment for the proposed workshop and facilitate evaluation of the depth, current status, and future challenges in pediatric tissue engineering.
New technologies with the ability to engineer implantable living tissues or encourage the regeneration of tissues and organs hold great promise for the treatment and cure of a variety of birth defects and other childhood afflictions. However, a surprisingly small fraction of tissue engineering research focuses on the needs of pediatric patients when compared to adult therapies. This proposed workshop aims to bring together engineers, scientists and clinicians involved in tissue engineering research and in treating pediatric patients with tissue engineering needs in order to motivate research in these areas and enhance collaboration.