Mentoring Faculty

  • Portrait
  • Joseph Vacanti, MD
  • Institution: MGH/Harvard University
  • John Homans Professor of Surgery and Director, Center for Regenerative Medicine
  • Research Interests: Surgery, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, cell-seeded synthetic and natural scaffolds and growth factors

Joseph Vacanti is an academic surgeon, active in clinical innovation and basic research. He instituted New England’s first successful pediatric extracorporeal membrane oxygenation program in 1984 and began the nation’s first pediatric liver transplantation program. Vacanti has worked in tissue engineering since its inception in the early 1980s - a mission that stems from his interest in solving the problem of organ shortages. His approach to developing tissue involves using biodegradable polymer scaffolds, seeded with living cells, and immersed in media augmented with growth factors. Over the last 15 years, Vacanti has studied creating complete vascular networks as part of implantable tissue engineered devices to enable the fabrication of large, complex living structures such as vital organs, extremities or composite craniofacial tissues. Vacanti is a co-author with Langer of the 1993 Science paper that helped define the field of tissue engineering. He has been involved in over 20 startups, and has a distinguished record of training and mentorship