October 2012

Biologically inspired innovation

Photo of Donald Ingber 
Don Ingber, founding director of the Wyss Institute and a professor at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, leads the biomimetic microsystems platform that is engineering new human tissue models.

In attracting so many successful researchers and bringing them into close contact, the Wyss Institute has addressed one key problem with modern science: How do we make it easier to make important discoveries quickly?

“It is easier to do cutting-edge science when mixed in with developing — not just buying — the most cutting-edge engineering, and vice versa,” Church underscores. This is made easier at a research institute fostering the development of life-inspired materials and medical devices that can anticipate disease and correct it before it gets out of hand.

The Wyss has aligned itself with a range of medical centers around the city of Boston, including the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “The opportunity to couple engineering expertise at the Wyss Institute with clinical investigation expertise at the Dana-Farber has dramatically accelerated the translation of exciting preclinical findings to testing in cancer patients,” says Glenn Dranoff, associate faculty member at the Wyss Institute and professor of medicine at Dana-Farber, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

We may never truly understand life until we are able to reconstruct it from scratch, and, as demonstrated by the Ingber, Church and Silver labs, the researchers at the Wyss Institute are trying to get us there with the great hope of answering some of our most pressing questions.


Photo of Connor BamfordConnor Bamford (connorggbamford@gmail.com) is a Ph.D. student at Queen’s University in Belfast, U.K.

View a video from the Wyss Institute about a new in vitro approach to drug screening by mimicking the complicated mechanical and biochemical behaviors of a human lung. Click here to check out the Wyss Institute’s YouTube channel.


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