NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

New Bioengineering Seminar Series Takes Flight

Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic portrait
Columbia’s Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic

The newly established Biomedical Engineering Scientific Interest Group (BMESIG) is launching a seminar series, to start on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. with a lecture by Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, director of the Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering at Columbia University. View the remote lecture at

BMESIG focuses on community-building and resource knowledge among engineers and scientists in the intramural research program. The group’s creation was spearheaded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and the National Cancer Institute, with clinical advisors from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The inaugural speaker Vunjak-Novakovic has pioneered the use of stem cell engineering to grow tissue. Working primarily in the field of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, Vunjak-Novakovic’s lab has successfully grown bone grafts that match a patient’s original jawbone for facial reconstruction surgery to repair injuries, disease or birth defects.  

This spectacular advancement in bone tissue engineering provides all the advantages of the body’s original jawbone and uses real bone as a scaffold to grow a new TMJ graft. In related research, the Vunjak-Novakovic lab is engineering vascularized and electromechanically functional cardiac tissue by culturing stem cells. 

The BMESIG seminar series is held during the second week of each month, for now remote-only. For more information and to view upcoming speakers through May 2022, visit

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