Tissue Engineering is the science of growing replacement organs and tissue in the lab to replace damaged or diseased tissue. The process usually starts with a three-dimensional structure called a scaffold that is used to support cells as they grow and develop. Skin, blood vessels, bladders, trachea, esophagus, muscle and other types of tissue have been successfully engineered; and some of these tissues have already been used in treating human disease.

Solid organs -- such as the liver, kidney, heart and pancreas -- are especially challenging and are considered the "Holy Grail" of tissue engineering. Scientists at the Institute are working on a variety of strategies to engineer solid organs.