|Bioengineering combines the ingenuity of engineering with medical sciences to improve healthcare. U of T Engineering's renowned researchers and facilities have made us a leader in this ever-evolving research area. |
Nerve Cell Growth in Spinal Cord Injury
The Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering
(IBBME) is a collaborative research centre shared by Engineering, Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Toronto. Due to the highly interdisciplinary nature of the Institute, researchers are able to produce some of the most innovative biomedical research in the world. Professor Molly Shoichet’s
(Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry) research group specializes in finding solutions to unsolved problems in medicine through polymeric design for medical application. For instance, one area of her tissue engineering research involves the development of 3D hydrogel scaffolding to encourage nerve cell growth in spinal cord injuries. In cases of spinal cord injury, damaged nerve cells do not regenerate naturally. The prospect of being able to regenerate damaged nerve cells using hydrogels—a soft solid that is easily absorbed by the body—is incredibly exciting and has a wide range of application in several areas of tissue engineering.
Increased Bone Marrow Transplant Success
Under the direction of Professor Dionne Aleman
, the Medical Operations Research Laboratory
(morLAB) within the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering is dedicated to improving the quality of medical procedures using operations research techniques. One area of research involves enhancing our ability to select an appropriate bone marrow donor for patients. Before a patient undergoes bone marrow transplant, they are often treated with total body irradiation, ultimately eliminating the underlying disease and suppressing the patient’s immune system. This conditioning treatment helps the patient to accept donor bone marrow to restore their own bone marrow function. Even with the conditioning treatment, transplant success is not a certainty. morLAB is working to employ data mining and statistical techniques to better determine donor selection criteria that bears a higher transplant success rate overall, ultimately helping to restore healthy bone marrow function in more patients.