Fruitful collaboration earns another NSF award for Medical College scientist


Major study of biological self-assembly could revolutionize organ transplantation

VALHALLA, N.Y., October 24, 2005--For the second time in five years, a systems biologist at New York Medical College has won a major integrative biological research award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Stuart A. Newman, Ph.D., professor of cell biology and anatomy, is one of seven scientists at four sites who are studying tissue organization using a computer-aided, tissue engineering technique called "organ printing." They will share the $5 million award working as a team for a period of five years.

Nearly 100 research teams competed for the three awards given this year by the NSF for its flagship program in biological research called Frontiers in Integrative Biological Research (FIBR). The Newman team's scientific framework is biological self-assembly, a set of principles that considers, in addition to the genetics of cells and tissues, their physical properties. These concepts, implemented by organ printing, would revolutionize organ transplantation by taking cells from a patient with a damaged organ or blood vessel and using them to "print" a replacement part.

Principal investigator of the grant is Gabor Forgacs, Ph.D., a professor of physics and biology at the University of Missouri, with whom Dr. Newman has been collaborating on the biological physics of tissue shaping for 20 years. In December their textbook, Biological Physics of the Developing Embryo, will be published by Cambridge University Press.

"The book is intended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students," says Dr. Newman, "using physics to understand biological development. This book and the grant are representative of the new field of systems biology--using multi-disciplinary approaches to address a major biological question or complex biological problem."

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