Bioengineering

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and for those who need a transplant, the wait list is long. A Carnegie Mellon University bioengineering lab is on its way to achieveing a lofty goal: 3-D printing the human heart.

UPMC

Scientists have bioengineered miniature human livers – possibly for the first time. The livers were created by University of Pittsburgh researchers in an effort to move away from less reliable experiments on mouse livers. 

The livers will be used to study non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition connected to obesity that can lead to liver failure.

"We can use these systems to capture the progression of the disease to evaluate new drugs before we move into actual patients," said the study's lead author Dr. Alejandro Soto.

Keith Srakokic / AP Photo

There's evidence to suggest that cocaine is more addictive for adolescents than adults. Scientists believe that at least part of this has to do with biological mechanisms in the brain, but they're not sure exactly what those mechanisms are.

A special sensor being developed at the University of Pittsburgh could help give them a better understanding.

Lance Davidson and Rafey Feroze / University of Pittsburgh

The potential of tissue engineering is huge -- think replacement cartilage or artificial organs -- but current techniques are inefficient. 

If an engineer were building a house, they'd consider the properties of the materials they were using and the physical forces acting upon them.

If they're building biological tissue, they'll want to do the same.

Banerjee Lab / University of Pittsburgh

For more than one million Americans with Type 1 Diabetes, managing the condition involves daily shots of insulin and closely watching their diets.

Pitt Scientist Receives Grant To Mass-Produce Stem Cells

Oct 22, 2015
Lwp Kommunikáció / flickr

An associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh is working on a way to produce human stem cells on an industrial scale.

Ipsita Banerjee of the Swanson School of Engineering, with co-researcher Prashant Kumta, recently received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to research a method of mass-producing “pluripotent” stem cells.