Rocky S. Tuan, PhD (pictured), a world-renowned expert in stem cell biology and tissue engineering, has been appointed the founding director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s newly established Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. For more than 30 years, Dr. Tuan has studied the workings of the musculoskeletal system and its diseases, including cartilage development and repair, cell signaling and matrix biochemistry, stem cell biology, nanotechnology, and many other orthopaedically relevant topics.
The role of the new Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering is to develop the knowledge base and the technical know-how toward the restoration of organ functions by applying principles of cellular and molecular biology as well as the physical sciences and engineering. Novel approaches, such as stem cells, biomaterials, nanotechnology, and bioreactors will be utilized to advance skeletal tissue engineering and regeneration.
“Research has the greatest impact when it is based on real-world needs, developed by means of integrated scientific principles, and delivered using translational approaches,” said Dr. Tuan, who also will serve as the executive vice chairman for orthopaedic research. “My goal is to establish a national and international center of excellence built on research innovation, a strong education program, and an entrepreneurial culture that fosters local and regional collaborations among the academic, industrial, and business communities.”
Since 2001, Dr. Tuan has been chief of the Cartilage Biology and Orthopaedics Branch at the National Institute of Arthritis, and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He received his undergraduate education at Swarthmore College and Berea College, and his doctorate in 1977 from Rockefeller University, NY. Prior to his appointment at NIH, he held professorships in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania and at Thomas Jefferson University, where he also was vice chairman and director of research in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He currently has adjunct appointments at George Washington University School of Medicine and Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Dr. Tuan has served on many professional committees and boards, published significant research papers in top-tier scientific journals, and delivered invited talks at highly regarded academic centers in his field.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences Media Relations News Release (04/21/09)