Regenerative Medicine Awards
The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine congratulates the following award winners honored at this year’s Tissue Engineering International & Regenerative Medicine Society (TERMIS) World Congress – Vienna, Austria:
- TERMIS-AM Senior Scientist Award – Stephen F. Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD
- TERMIS-AM Educational Award – Kacey G. Marra, PhD
- Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Outstanding Student Award – Brian M. Sicari
- TERMIS-AM Lifetime Achievement Award – Alan J. Russell, PhD
- TERMIS-AM Young Investigator Award – Karen L. Christman
- TERMIS-AM Innovation/Commercialization Award – Andrew J. Marshall
TERMIS-AM Senior Scientist Award – Stephen F. Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD
Stephen F. Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD, a deputy director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, professor in the Department of Surgery, and director of the Center for Pre-Clinical Tissue Engineering within the Institute, is a pioneer in the use of inductive biologic scaffolds for tissue reconstruction. His discoveries and 250 plus peer-reviewed publications have helped develop an important medical device industry that has changed the practice of medicine and more specifically, surgery. He is an international thought leader, has helped organize TERMIS as a global regenerative medicine society, and his scientific and organizational skills are heavily sought after by peers, regulatory agencies, and international policy makers. At the same time, Dr. Badylak’s scientific and patient-oriented discoveries have driven the clinical translation of biologic scaffolds for tissue repair and reconstruction – his passion for clinical translation is a notable driving force. His work spans the entire range of basic science, preclinical studies, and patient care.
Dr. Badylak is clearly the father of biologic scaffolds which forms the basis of an entire segment of the fields of tissue engineering and biomaterials. While his more than 250 scientific publications and 50 US patents are one metric of measuring achievement, another is the impact of his work on the practice of medicine and surgery. More than 2 million patients have benefitted from his earliest discovery of small intestinal submucosa (SIS) as biologic material and his subsequent work relating matrix-mediated tissue reconstruction to developmental biology, stem cell biology, and clinical practice continues to lead the field. His work has impacted not only general surgery but also plastic/reconstructive, thoracic, and trauma surgery, gastroenterology, obstetrics and gynecology, urology, dermatology, orthopedics, and wound care. Arguably, his work represents the most successful and widely utilized tissue engineering technique that has ever reached clinical practice. Of central importance has been his recognition of the role of regulatory, reimbursement, and industry activities which will help provide a roadmap for the advancement of medical research to the bedside. His proven ability to promote interdisciplinary collaboration, recognize cross disciplinary applications of scientific discovery, and challenge existing paradigms, while maintaining the highest degree of scientific integrity and ethics, sets a standard for the field.
The Senior Scientist Award is based on an individual’s significant contributions to the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine field. Individuals nominated for the Senior Scientist Award must have received their terminal degree 10 years or greater from the time of the award, be actively contributing to the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine field, and their contributions as a body of work should be well recognized within the community.
TERMIS-AM Educational Award – Kacey G. Marra, PhD
Kacey G. Marra, PhD, associate professor, Department of Surgery, director of the Plastic Surgery Laboratory, as well as co-director of the Adipose Stem Cell Center, shares a special bond with every student she teachers and advises. Dr. Marra’s likeable personality applied to her motivational work ethic is what defines her and qualifies her as an extraordinary mentor and educator. It is not surprising that this driven and charismatic woman successfully manages a productive research laboratory. Thanks to Dr. Marra’s positive attitude and problem-solving strategies, students are always able to make ends meet and overcome any potential obstacles.
Dr. Marra teaches an Introduction to Tissue Engineering course. She increased the course’s student capacity after an overwhelming number requested to experience the class before graduating. While the class did, of course, supply students with knowledge and concepts of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, Dr. Marra’s above-and-beyond teaching methods provided them with valuable public speaking skills they utilize to this day. Dr. Marra’s vibrant and lively teaching practices engage her entire class (which now consists of over 40 undergraduate and graduate students from Pitt’s bioengineering, chemical engineering, and pathology departments). Dr. Marra positively affects the lives and education of her students.
Dr. Marra has inspired countless young minds in the local community to pursue science, math, and engineering degrees. In addition to her work with the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative (just one of the numerous local outreach programs to which she is dedicated), Dr. Marra recently spoke to hundreds of high school students through a Westinghouse Science series. The day after her lecture to these students, Dr. Marra’s e‐mail inbox exploded with messages from audience members indicating interest to shadow or intern in the Adipose Stem Cell Center.
The Educational Award is presented based on the educational accomplishments of an individual (advisor/supervisor) within the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Educational accomplishments include but are not limited to: published textbooks, new initiatives within the field, mentoring, curriculum development, educational resources, educational collaborations, etc.
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Outstanding Student Award – Brian M. Sicari
Brian M. Sicari is a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh in the field of Cellular and Molecular Pathology. He has shown an enthusiasm for both learning and the application of that learning to medical problems that others typically consider “too tough” to tackle. He has spent these past 4 years becoming proficient in the scientific method, developing new laboratory techniques, applying the principles of engineering and cell biology to practical and very real problems in skeletal muscle pathology, and becoming perhaps a most well-rounded scientist. He challenges himself, his peers, and superiors, and does not accept traditional explanations for accepted paradigms without solid supporting data.
Mr. Sicari’s thesis work, “Constructive Remodeling by Extracellular Matrix Scaffolds within the Aging Skeletal Muscle Microenvironment,” is not only relevant to an aging demographic in the United States and worldwide, it also addresses fundamental principles of soft tissue healing, developmental biology, and the effects of age upon such fundamental processes. His work builds upon the evidence-based research upon the strategic use of extracellular matrix to promote skeletal muscle regeneration, including the associated innervation, vascularization, and functionality of such new muscle tissue. His work focuses upon the loss of progenitor cells in an older population, the role of macrophages in this process, and mechanisms to delay or reverse this degenerative process. In the process of this work, he has also developed a new model of volumetric muscle loss.
Mr. Sicari has been the recipient of several well-deserved awards and fellowships during his student experience including the 2011 Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine Career Enrichment Award, 2011 University of Pittsburgh Pathology Retreat First Place Poster Award, 2012 National Institutes of Health National Research Service (F31) Predoctoral Fellowship Award, 2012 McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Annual Retreat Poster Award, and 2012 McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Grant of the Month. Beyond work at the laboratory bench, Mr. Sicari is personable and engaging. He serves as the nucleus for the students in the laboratory and fosters professional camaraderie that results in trust and support.
The Outstanding Student Award will be presented to a student (undergraduate/graduate) who has shown outstanding research accomplishments within the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine field. The student will be selected based on a non-published manuscript submitted with the nomination and must be a member of TERMIS-Americas. The award manuscript will be published in the journal, Tissue Engineering, Part A with appropriate recognition. The manuscript must be original work; not a review.
TERMIS-AM Lifetime Achievement Award – Alan J. Russell, PhD
Alan J. Russell (PhD in Biological Chemistry, Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London) is the founding director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Most recently, Dr. Russell was appointed to the position of Highmark Distinguished Career Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. In addition, Dr. Russell is the executive director of the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative, Inc. He has founded three biotechnology companies: ICX Agentase LLC, NanoSembly LLC, and O2Cyte LLC, and was also the founding president of TERMIS.
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been established to recognize an individual who has contributed immensely to the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine field. The award will be presented to an individual whose work has impacted and assisted with laying the foundation stones for the field.
TERMIS-AM Young Investigator Award – Karen L. Christman
The Young Investigator Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievements within the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine field. The individual is selected based on a publication or a collection of manuscripts focused within a particular area of research. Candidates for the award must be within 10 years of receipt of their terminal degree and must not be tenured at the time of the nomination (if working within academia).
TERMIS-AM Innovation/Commercialization Award – Andrew J. Marshall
The Innovation/Commercialization Award recognizes the application of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine in the production of a product or technology that ultimately will benefit patients. This award recognizes either an individual or a team. The award is presented for an existing product or for a newly developed product that has been launched in the last 5 years, or for a technology launched in the last 5 years that can facilitate commercialization of a product.