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NSF Awards $26M for New Engineering Research Center, Led by ME Professor John Bischof

The National Science Foundation awarded the University of Minnesota Institute for Engineering in Medicine, directed by ME Professor John Bischof, $26 million over five years to create the Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Advanced Technologies for the Preservation of Biological Systems (ATP-Bio). The center's work, which is co-led by Professor Mehmet Toner at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Engineering in Medicine, will rapidly accelerate biopreservation technologies for cells, tissues, organs, and whole organisms, aiming to stop biological time by designing methods to cryogenically cool, store, and re-warm living materials with a higher success rate than ever before. 

“Through this center, we will strive to revolutionize transplantation and other cellular and biological therapies, as well as accelerate and shrink the cost of drug discovery and other vital biomedical research,” said Bischof, director of ATP-Bio.

The center will also take on crucial biodiversity preservation work, including banking embryos from thousands of aquatic species to protect against extinction and support our growing aquaculture industry.

ATP-Bio graphic explaining the research process

ATP-Bio also aims to grow and diversify the biopreservation workforce through educational initiatives and research, taking the lead on expanding STEM career pathways for tomorrow's workforce. Center leadership plans to make a significant societal impact through innovative educational programs and research, initiatives to increase the diversity of students and professionals in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, a robust innovation ecosystem involving over 50 companies and organizations, and a team devoted to guiding the ethical development and deployment of ATP-Bio technologies. The center involves four partners: the University of Minnesota, which will serve as the administrative home; Massachusetts General Hospital; the University of California, Berkeley; and the University of California, Riverside.

Want to know more about ATP-Bio? Check out this fact sheet and watch the video below.