New Master’s Degree Prepares Future Regenmed Scientists, Business Leaders

October 12, 2022

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – October 11, 2022 -- A new master’s degree program to prepare next and future generations of STEM professionals and business leaders for the regenerative medicine field has been established at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in collaboration with regenerative medicine experts at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM).

The Translational Biotechnology MS Program features two pathways – research and business – with the goal of preparing graduates to lead the movement of novel therapies from the laboratory into the clinic. The program works closely with the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Students can choose from two pathways – research and business – with the goal of preparing to lead the effort to move novel therapies from the laboratory into the clinic. The program works closely with WFIRM faculty members who are internationally renowned leaders in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.

“There is a strong regional need for highly skilled scientists that are knowledgeable about business fundamentals and regulatory affairs, which specifically aligns with a report from the Council of Graduate Schools,” said Tracy Criswell, PhD, associate professor at WFIRM and director of the new program. “The field of regenerative medicine is rapidly developing from its research and development focus through clinical translation to biomanufacturing as new biological products and technologies are developed and production is scaled-up to match their rate of adoption.”

Both pathways in the program are designed with flexibility to accommodate the individual needs of students.

The science/research-focused pathway is for students with a four-year undergraduate degree in the biomedical sciences who are primarily interested in research in either academia or industry. Students will pursue a research project culminating in a written thesis and defense.

The business-focused pathway is geared to students who are already professionals in their field (scientists or nonscientists) but want to gain knowledge about starting or leading companies engaged in biotechnology. The online asynchronous coursework will allow these students to obtain their MS while remaining employed. Students will complete a capstone project geared toward their area of interest.

Both pathways require an externship (either local or virtual) with a biotech partner organization. A certificate in translational biotechnology is also offered, consisting of 15 credit hours of didactic course work tailored to the student’s needs.

Criswell said the degree would be an advantage for anyone planning to work in environments such as:

  • Academic research and teaching institutions, including undergraduate and professional schools
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Biotechnology or start-up pharmaceutical companies
  • Government agencies, such as the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health or the Food and Drug Administration

“This degree program is an integral part of the RegenMed Hub, a thriving regenerative medicine ecosystem in North Carolina that provides access to unparalleled resources to advance education, products and manufacturing, with the ultimate goal of improving patient care,” said Anthony Atala, director of WFIRM.

Application deadline is March 1. Complete program and admissions information can be found on the website.

About the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine: The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is recognized as an international leader in translating scientific discovery into clinical therapies, with many world firsts, including the development and implantation of the first engineered organ in a patient. Over 400 people at the institute, the largest in the world, work on more than 40 different tissues and organs. A number of the basic principles of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine were first developed at the institute. WFIRM researchers have successfully engineered replacement tissues and organs in all four categories – flat structures, tubular tissues, hollow organs and solid organs – and 15 different applications of cell/tissue therapy technologies, such as skin, urethras, cartilage, bladders, muscle, kidney, and vaginal organs, have been successfully used in human patients. The institute, which is part of Wake Forest School of Medicine, is located in the Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem, NC, and is driven by the urgent needs of patients. The institute is making a global difference in regenerative medicine through collaborations with over 400 entities and institutions worldwide, through its government, academic and industry partnerships, its start-up entities, and through major initiatives in breakthrough technologies, such as tissue engineering, cell therapies, diagnostics, drug discovery, biomanufacturing, nanotechnology, gene editing and 3D printing.