Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine Creates STEM-Focused Masters Program


The expanding RegenMed Hub in downtown Winston-Salem now offers a new master’s degree program focused on training future generations of STEM professionals and business leaders in the field of regenerative medicine.

The program represents a collaboration between Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the university’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine within the Innovation District.

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The Translational Biotechnology program includes two tracks – research and business – with the aim of preparing graduates to lead the movement of new therapies from the laboratory to the clinic.

Classes will be taught by experts in regenerative medicine from the institute.

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“After graduation, you’ll be prepared to pursue a variety of STEM careers relevant to current and changing times based on the knowledge, skills, and abilities you’ve acquired,” according to the program’s website.

“The entire workforce will be eager to access critical new skills in market assessment, project management, product development and finance, previously underrepresented or non-existent in higher STEM education, that you have grown as a student.

“You will take with you the expertise required for entrepreneurship, large-scale scaling up of biological therapies, or biomanufacturing (regulatory affairs, process development, quality control), many of which are simultaneously required for a career in biotechnology or academic sectors in collaboration with industry.”

“There is a strong regional need for highly qualified scientists with knowledge of business fundamentals and regulatory affairs, which specifically aligns with a report from the Council of Graduate Schools,” said Tracy Criswell, director of the new program and associate professor at the institute.

Criswell said the degree program is designed for anyone planning to work in environments such as:

  • Academic research and education institutions, including undergraduate schools and professional schools;
  • Pharmaceutical industry;
  • Start-up biotech or pharmaceutical companies; and
  • Government agencies, such as the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, or the Food and Drug Administration.

“The demand for talent with diverse qualifications and degrees in the life sciences continues to grow throughout North Carolina,” said Nancy Johnston, executive director of the NC Biotechnology Center’s Piedmont Triad.

“Specifically, this new degree program in translational biotechnology is: important for a growing regenerative medicine group; an essential element for advancing translational research and development; and relevant to meet the skill sets needed across the go-to-market continuum.

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Dr Anthony Atala, director of the institute, said the curriculum “is an integral part of the RegenMed Hub”. The hub, branded as ReMDO, debuted locally in June.

Atala describes the RegenMed Hub as 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.”

The science/research oriented track is aimed at students with a four-year undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences who have a primary interest in research in academia or industry.

Students will pursue a research project culminating in a written thesis and defense.

The business-focused track is aimed at students who are already professionals in their field (scientific or non-scientific), but who wish to gain knowledge about starting or running companies engaged in biotechnology.

The asynchronous online courses will allow these students to obtain their master’s degree in science while remaining employed.

Students will complete a capstone project focused on their area of ​​interest.

Both paths require an externship – local or virtual – with a biotechnology partner organization.

A Certificate in Translational Biotechnology is also offered, consisting of 15 credit hours of didactic coursework tailored to the needs of the student.

The research track requires full-time study and expects on-campus participation. Students in the research track conduct research at WFIRM in support of a thesis.

The Business Stream is a part-time program, designed for working professionals, and does not require Winston-Salem attendance.

Students enrolled in both streams must commit to a minimum of five academic terms (20 months). A slowed study plan may be an option for business students, allowing students to advance at a slower pace with fewer classes per term.

The application deadline is March 1. Full program and admissions information is available at https://school.wakehealth.edu/education-and-training/graduate-programs/translational-biotechnology-ms.

“Having this program in place will allow companies developing RegenMed products to succeed without leaving North Carolina,” Johnston said. “It’s an honor for the state, the region and Winston-Salem.”

Other RegenMed Items

In September, the institute said MIMEDX, based in Marietta, Georgia, is taking place at the RegeneratOR Innovation Accelerator.

The accelerator helps regenerative medicine start-ups and growing companies with new or emerging technologies move from research to commercialization.

MIMEDX is a placental biologics company and a pioneer in placental tissue engineering.

In August, RTT Medical announced its rental plans in the accelerator.

MIMEDX said it has distributed more than 2 million tissue allografts to date, primarily to meet the needs of patients with acute and chronic non-healing wounds.

Part of his medical research targets a pipeline of late-stage biologics aimed at reducing pain and improving function in patients with degenerative musculoskeletal disorders.

The opening space in the Accelerator and RegenMed Hub is designed “to advance the science related to the application of placental technologies in multiple areas of wound care and regenerative medicine.”

MIMEDX aims to develop new products and optimize manufacturing processes “in a way that advances the delivery of safe, innovative and evidence-based technologies to patients in a cost-effective manner.”

RTT Medical, founded in 2021, produces regenerative tissue technologies for wound management, including partial and full-thickness wounds; bedsores; diabetic ulcers; venous ulcers; chronic vascular ulcers; tunnelled/detached wounds; surgical wounds; traumatic injuries; and draining wounds.

These wounds are all referred to as soft tissue repair. The Company’s products have 510(k) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration.

The company’s first product to market is its XCelliStem Wound Powder, a custom blend of materials that aids in the healing and repair of wounds and burns.

One of the main attractions of the accelerator is the ReMDO testbed, which provides biofabrication equipment, industry expertise and talent to support the prototyping of new prototypes and the development of commercial products.

The RegeneratOR Test Bed lab space, which debuted in June 2021, is designed to bring together resources to advance the field of regenerative medicine nationwide and create an engine of economic development for the region and the region. North Carolina.

Eleven collaborating companies, including Oracle, BioSpherix and PHC, formerly Panasonic Healthcare Corp., made the launch of the RegeneratOR testbed possible.

Atala said about $50 million has been invested in the RegeneratOR testbed, mostly by industry and government.

Chris Chung, chief executive of the Economic Development Partnership of NC, another speaker, said in June 2021 that the initiative has enormous economic potential for Winston-Salem, the Triad and all of North Carolina.

“All of you at Winston-Salem have a front seat on what’s going on, thanks to the work of Dr. Atala and his colleagues,” Chung said.

“You are all in the driver’s seat of how this industry will continue to evolve and meet the needs of human health medicine.”

Axiom space

In April, the institute and RegenMed announced a partnership with Axiom Space, which is developing the first commercial space station.

Institute officials have described the partnership as the “next frontier” in research and manufacturing.

“We can literally take the field of regenerative medicine to a whole new level,” Atala said.

The biggest expected benefit is the research, performed initially on the International Space Station, “will be freed from the constraints of gravity, offering great potential and benefits,” according to the entities.

“This will allow our scientific research teams to advance biomanufacturing to bring new treatments that cannot be developed on Earth, and treatments for conditions that affect the human body when exposed to the harsh environment of space travel,” Atala said.

The primary goal of the partnership is to further accelerate the translation of regenerative medicine technologies into products and services for patients.

Axiom becomes a tenant of ReMDO’s innovation accelerator to access its test bed.

“This partnership paves the way for an entire commercial industry aboard Axiom’s space station,” Atala said.


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