The Regenerative Medicine (RM) field requires a new type of researcher, well-trained in fundamental RM concepts and methods, able to integrate human biology and engineered systems with awareness of challenges involved in advancing basic research, regulatory science, and clinical translation. The Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) has a unique infrastructure that provides facilities and expertise for translational studies, from basic preclinical findings all the way through Phase 2 clinical trials.

The overall goal of our T32 pre-doctoral training program, "Studies in Translational Regenerative Medicine", is to develop the next generation of multidisciplinary trained research scientists and engineers, who will lead new diverse research teams designing solutions to real-world health problems and advance the RM field. Ability to link state-of-the-art multidisciplinary basic science training to the infrastructure and knowledge base required to accelerate translation of RM technologies are key strengths. WFIRM's multidisciplinary training includes a range of activities, including didactic courses, participation in cutting-edge team science, and new opportunities to engage in academic, government, and industrial externships. The new program emphasizes professional and career development, including project and time management, grant writing, regulatory science, GMP manufacturing, and scientific ethics. 

The program has 3 NIBIB-aligned focus areas: 

  • Biomaterials
  • Enabling Technologies (bioprinting, body-on-a-chip, imaging & multifluidics)
  • Stem Cells/Cell Therapies applied to one or more application areas: 
    • Cardiovascular
    • Musculoskeletal
    • Gastrointestinal/Endocrine
    • Urological

After a common 1st year curriculum (unique to each track), trainees identify one of 13 primary mentors (of 22 mentoring faculty), take specialized RM courses and choose a graduate committee. Inclusion of seasoned Primary Mentors (13), Mentors-in-Training (6), and Emeritus Mentors (3) with career-long mentoring experience is a unique program aspect. The program is reviewed by Internal and External Advisory Boards composed of prominent academic, government, and industry members.

The T32 program has 19 mentors, arranged in well-defined, three-level mentoring/co-mentoring structure: primary mentors (n=11), mentors in training (n=4), and Emeritus Mentors (n=4). Concomitantly, each research focus contains atleast five faculty members with complementary expertise, who participate in the training and supervision of graduate students as co-mentors. WFIRM faculty have appointments in multiple graduate tracks, bringing together expertise and cutting-edge technologies in cell and molecular biology, genetics, biomedical engineering, physiology, stem cell biology, animal modeling, surgery, matrix biochemistry, and materials chemistry. All 19 training faculty have a primary appointment or a cross-appointment at WFIRM. Every translational research project at WFIRM is co-mentored by a basic scientist and a clinician. Trainees also engage with clinical co-mentors who are selected from many experts available across our extensive network of intramural, extramural and international collaborations. 

The primary focus of the STRM training program is in the following PhD program tracks of Wake Forest University Graduate School

After a common 1st year curriculum (unique to each track), trainees identify one of 12 primary mentors (of 20 mentoring faculty), take specialized RM courses and choose a graduate committee choose a graduate committee that will guide them through their thesis work and participate in a variety of WFIRM-wide training activities; special workshops; participation in cutting-edge team research; grant writing; scientific presentations; and opportunities to engage within academic, government and industry collaborations. Inclusion of seasoned Primary Mentors, Mentors-in-Training, and Emeritus Mentors with career-long mentoring experience is a unique program aspect. The program is reviewed by Internal and External Advisory Boards composed of prominent academic, government, and industry members.

The Program Director, Dr. Anthony Atala, has ultimate responsibility for the administration of the training program, assisted by Co-Program Director, Dr Graca Almeida-Porada and an Executive Committee composed of senior experienced trainers. The training program is reviewed and evaluated annually by both an Internal Advisory Committee and External Advisory Committee, whose members have extensive experience managing training programs as well as nationally renowned research programs in regenerative medicine.

Faculty Research Mentors Areas of Research Focus

Anthony Atala, MD
Professor and Director of WFIRM
(Director of the Training Grant)

Graca Almeida-Porada, PhD
Professor (Associate Training Program Director) 

Karl-Erik Andersson, MD
Professor

Colin Bishop, PhD
Professor

Khalil Bitar, PhD
Professor

Tracy Criswell, PhD
Assistant Professor

Sang Jin Lee, PhD
Associate Professor 

Baisong Lu, PhD
Assistant Professor

Frank Marini, PhD
Professor

Sean Murphy, PhD
Assistant Professor

Emmanuel C. Opara, PhD
Professor

Christopher Porada, PhD
Professor

Hooman Sadri-Ardekani, MD, PhD

Marshall Schwartz, MD
Professor and Surgeon

Steve J. Walker, PhD
Tenured Associate Professor

Kounosuke Watabe, PhD
Professor, Cancer Biology and WFIRM

Shay Soker, PhD
Professor

David F.  Williams, PhD, DSc
Professor

Koudy Williams, DVM
Professor

James J. Yoo, MD, PhD
Professor

 

Meet our Pre-Doctoral Fellows

2018 WFIRM NIH Fellows

As pictured: Matthew Brovold, Renata Magalhaes, Andrea Mazzocchi, Kevin Enck, James Poteracki

Pre-Doctoral Fellow Bios