New Grants For Prof. Vunjak-Novakovic

Biomedical Engineering Professor Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic has received five grants worth more than $2.5 million in recent weeks. 

Vunjak-Novakovic, one of the country’s leading tissue engineers, won a new $1 million grant from the New York State Stem Cell Board (NYSTEM) for cardiac stem cell research. She is director of Columbia’s Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, which hosts the Bioreactor Core of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Tissue Engineering Resource Center, just renewed for another five years.
With its “bioreactor shop,” and a group of 25 talented students and postdocs, the lab has a national reputation for its advanced culture systems. Last year, Vunjak-Novakovic led a team of 26 investigators to bring to the School a new Stem Cell Functional Imaging Core, established through another grant awarded by NYSTEM.
Other recent grants to support the lab’s research include the following:
  • NIH grants of more than $1 million: $584,910 for a Plug-and-Play bioreactor; and $433,600 for research of silk hydrogel for functional cartilage tissue engineering;
  • A private gift of $400,000 from Corning for the purchase of a high-throughput screening platform;
  • A $100,000 grant from Johnson & Johnson
The March 26 issue of The New York Times featured her work in the story “Replacement Bones, Grown to Order in the Lab,” where it was hailed as “tissue engineering at its best.”
Last fall, Vunjak-Novakovic won a $2.8 million NIH grant, which is a competitive renewal of their NIH Tissue Engineering Resource Center (TERC), for another five years. The unifying mission for the TERC is to engineer human tissue systems for medical impact. This grant brings $2.8 million each to the Bioreactor Core at Columbia University and the complementary Biomaterials Core at Tufts University.


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