The mission of the newly established Center for Engineering Cells and Regeneration (CECR) is to develop the science and technology behind engineering cells and tissues.

     Cellular Engineering, Tissue Engineering, and Regenerative Medicine are all part of a new science that seeks to understand how cells, tissues, and organs undergo adaptive or maladaptive responses to stimuli whose effects   may be beneficial (e.g., in natural or engineered nutritive microenvironments) or harmful (e.g. in aging, stress, or injury). This new area clearly is not a single discipline. Rather, it requires the integration of engineering, material science, biology, chemistry, physics, and medicine. This multidisciplinary approach pushes the frontiers of our understanding of cells as control systems,  how the individual subcomponents can be  retooled to alter cell function, and how cells interact with each other and their microenvironment to form tissues.


CECR builds on three pillars of excellence,



  CECR fosters interactions between these disciplines within the Schools of Engineering, Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Dentistry, and Veterinary Medicine, and establishes new collaborative interactions amongst these participants.  




EVENT Spotlight


Tissue Engineering Symposium

Over 190 faculty members, students and fellows attended Penn Tissue Engineering Symposium co-sponsored by CECR and the Pen Institute for Regenerative Medicine, held Monday October 24, 2012 in Wu and Chen Auditorium, Levine Hall.  

Keynote speaker Robert Langer, PhD spoke on the development of biomaterials technologies for biomedical applications, ranging from drug delivery to tissue engineering to stem cell engineering, as well as his vision of the importance and opportunities of the engineering/biology interface.

The Symposium featured poster presentations by graduate students and post-doctoral fellows and drew participants from across the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, and School of Dental Medicine, all focused on tissue engineering, stem cell biology, and regenerative medicine.

This event, and more like it to follow, will further the center's mission of assembling a community at Penn which will cross-pollinate around the idea of scientists, engineers, and inventors tying to medicine and cell biology to solve major problems in health and disease.


Event Highlights
(click to enlarge)


If you are a faculty member or student interested in      participating in similar events, become a CECR member today!



  • Christopher Chen gave opening Plenary Talk at Gordon Research Conference (07/2012), Signal Transduction by Engineered Extracellular Matrices.
  • Christopher Chen elected as a member of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (11/2009).
  • Casim Sarkar selected as a participant in the 2009 National Academies Keck Futures Initiative conference, Synthetic Biology: Building on Nature's Inspiration.
  • Jason Burdick awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award.

  • Rob Mauck awarded the Y.C. Fung Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Mechanical Engineers.
  • Jason Burdick selected as a participant in the National Academy of Engineering, US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. 



  • Miller J.S., Stevens K.R., Yang M.T., Baker B.M., Nguyen D.H., Cohen D.M., Toro E., Chen A.A., Galie P.A., Yu X., Chaturvedi R, Bhatia S.N. and Chen C.S. Rapid Casting of Patterned Vascular Networks for Perfusable Engineered Three-dimensional Tissues. Nature Materials (2012).

  • Baker B.M., Shah R.P., Silverstein A.M., Esterhai J.L., Burdick J.A. Mauck R.L.. Sacrificial Nanofibrous Composites Provide Instruction without Impediment and Enable Functional Tissue Formation. PNAS (2012).
  • Hanjaya-Pura D., Bose V., Shen Y.I, Yee J., Khetan S., Burdick J.A., Gerecht S. Controlled Activation of Morphogenesis to Generate Functional Human Microvasculature in a Synthetic Matrix. Blood (2011).

  • Huang A.H., Stein A., Mauck R.L. The Complex Transcriptional of Mesenchymal Stem cell Chondrogenesis for Cartilage Tissue Engineering. Tissue Engineering (Part A) (2010).
  • Palani S. and Sarkar C.A. Integrating Extrinsic and Intrinsic Cues into a Minimal Model of Lineage Commitment for Hematopoietic Progenitors. PLoS Computational Biology (2009).

  • Guilak F., Cohen D.M., Estes B.T., Gimble J.M., Liedtke W., Chen, C.S. (2009) Control of stem cell fate by physical interactions with the extracellular matrix. Cell Stem Cell, 5: 17-26.

  • Legant W.R., Pathak A., Yang M.T., Deshpande V.S., McMeeking R.M., Chen, C.S. (2009) Microfabricated tissue gauges to measure and manipulate forces from 3D microtissues. Proc Nat Acad Sci, 106: 10097-10102.

  • Mauck R.L., Baker BM, Nerurkar NL, Burdick J.A., Li WJ, Tuan R.S., Elliott D.M. (2009) Engineering on the Straight and Narrow: the Mechanics of Nanofibrous Assemblies for Fiber-Reinforced Tissue Regeneration. Tissue Engineering, Part B: Reviews, 15(2):171-93.

  • Chung C., Beecham M., Mauck R.L., Burdick J.A. (2009) The Influence of Degradation Characteristics of Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogels on in Vitro Neocartilage Formation by Mesenchymal Stem Cells. Biomaterials, 30:4287-4296

  • Huang A.H., Farrell M.J., and Mauck R.L., "Mechanics and Mechanobiology of Mesenchymal Stem Cells-Based Engineered Cartilage", Journal of Biomechanics, in press (2010).

  • Chung C. and Burdick J.A., Influence of 3D Hyaluronic Acid Microenvironments on Mesenchymal Stem Cell Chondrogenesis (2009), Tissue Engineering A, 15:243-254.

  • Khetan S., Katz J.S., Burdick J.A,, Sequential Crosslinking to Control Cellular Spreading in 3-Dimensional Hydrogels (2009), Soft Matter, 5:1601-1606.

  • Marklein R.A., Burdick J.A., Controlling Stem Cell Fate with Material Design, Advanced Materials, in press (2009).

  • Thomas S.N., Tong Z., Stebe K.J. and Konstantopoulos K., Identification, characterization and utilization of tumor selection ligands in the design of cancer diagnostics, Biorheology 46 (2009) 207?225


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