The University of Pittsburgh (UOP) is seeking support of our multidisciplinary pre-doctoral training program in Cellular Approaches to Tissue Engineering and Regeneration (CATER). UOP has been at the forefront of research in this field for the last decade and continues to invest in the future of the discipline. Our work at the cutting edge, however, has demonstrated to us that current departmental pre-doctoral training programs are not ideal foundations for trainees who must learn to work in a highly interdisciplinary field. It is clear that the time has come to define the field through curriculum development and to educate a cadre of interdisciplinary scientists and engineers who will become responsible for delivering on the hope and hype that surrounds the field. Broadly defined, tissue engineering is the development and manipulation of artificial biological or bio-hybrid implants, laboratory-grown tissues, cells and molecules to replace or support the function of defective or injured parts of the body. Tissue engineering and cellular therapy, which can be considered tissue engineering in the absence of biomaterials, are tools for regenerative medicine. Cellular and tissue engineering are two interdisciplinary fields that are inseparably coupled, bringing together researchers from human biology, engineering, medicine and applied technology to focus on the repair and replacement of human tissues. One of the most significant challenges in regenerative medicine is developing the next generation of experts in each of the enabling disciplines to be trained cognizant of the cross-disciplinary challenges and approaches needed to solve tissue engineering problems. We believe that the answer to this need is to develop a cross-disciplinary pre-doctoral training program that gives engineers or life scientists a common grounding in the field. We believe it is vital to deliver this foundation without sacrificing disciplinary focus and excellence. We have established CATER to fill the gaps that departmentally focused research training cause. In summary, we seek to CATER to the unique needs of graduate students who wish to become the researchers who drive regenerative medicine from the laboratory to the clinic. CATER is in every sense about providing students with what they need to succeed in the emergence of a rapidly evolving highly interdisciplinary area. The goal of the CATER training program is to provide a solid foundation upon which to build a productive independent career in cellular and tissue based therapy for human disease and injury. This goal is accomplished via a highly coordinated and mentored interdisciplinary training program with a combination of required and elective courses, research activities, and specialized training opportunities. The proposed Training Program incorporates faculty from the Bioengineering department, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and the Department of Pathology to provide a unique educational and research experience at the leading edge of science with respect to cellular / tissue regeneration and engineering. This combination of training faculty research interests and coursework provides a rich educational experience and more numerous training opportunities for the students than could be obtained within the individual university departments.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-BRT-6 (EB))
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Khachaturian, Henry
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University of Pittsburgh
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