Designing Regeneration Templates that Promote Neo-tissues
by using the body as the optimal bioreactor to regrow the neo-tissue
Dr. Gary L. Bowlin
Chair & Professor
ET119D Biomedical Engineering Department
Research Interests: The Tissue Template Engineering and Regeneration Laboratory in the Biomedical Engineering department at the University of Memphis, led by Professor Gary L. Bowlin in collaboration with Dr. Marko Radic (University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Immunology), is engineering acellular templates (varying architecture and composition) that will harness the body as a bioreactor to promote in situ regeneration. Regardless of fabrication method and composition, these templates all have two critical aspects in common: upon implantation there will be surface adsorption of proteins and this protein-coated template will engage cells of the innate immune system. Together, these will initiate a cascade of multifaceted events that will determine, in a critical manner, the ultimate template success (tissue integration and regeneration) or failure (inflammation and fibrosis/scar tissue formation). Paradoxically, the reduction or elimination of the innate immune response to a template may be counterproductive, and a superior strategy would be to design template characteristics to direct regeneration. The neutrophils are the focus of this strategy because they are the most abundant sentinels of the innate immune system, at the ready to be rapidly recruited to a site of implantation/injury/infection. At the site, neutrophils initiate the local inflammatory response and, in analogy to M1 and M2 macrophages, neutrophils have the capacity to condition the microenvironment (N1 and N2). The collaborative efforts are making a paradigm shift to provide the needed, yet currently neglected, understanding of the neutrophil-template temporal interaction which will regulate a direct improvement in regenerative outcomes. Duly, there remains a critical requisite for the understanding of the early-stage innate-immune response (i.e. neutrophils) to acellular templates to improve template engineering and overall tissue regeneration.
B.E. Chemical Engineering, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH, June 1988
M.S. Chemical Engineering, The University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, May 1990
PhD, Biomedical Engineering, The University of Akron, Akron, OH, August 1996
Post-doctoral Fellow, Surgery, Summa Health System, Akron, OH, July 1996 – July 1997
Brief Research Summary and Biosketch:
Dr. Bowlin’s laboratory is focused on developing and evaluating electrospun biomaterials for tissue engineering of new tissues and organs. More importantly, current work focuses on near-field electrospinning and regulating the neutrophil response to the implanted fibrous regeneration templates. The Bowlin lab research productivity has yielded over 150 journal articles (>20,200 citations, h-index: 60; Google Scholar data), 19 book chapters, over 60 U.S. and International patents (started five companies, several regulatory cleared products), and over 400 presentations and invited lectures. As a senior faculty member in Biomedical Engineering, Dr. Bowlin has a long-standing commitment to the training of future generations of engineers and scientists. Over the years, he has trained/mentored 15 high school students in year-long commitments and provided educational and career planning to numerous high school students. He has also directly supervised 80 undergraduate students in research or senior design projects. In addition, he has graduated 32 Master’s degree students and 18 Ph.D. students who have had very productive careers in medicine, industry, and academia. Dr. Bowlin is the Inaugural and current President of the International Society for Biomedical Polymers and Polymeric Biomaterials and serves as the Secretary/Treasurer for the International Society for Applied Cardiovascular Biology. Finally, he is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.
BFGoodrich Collegiate Inventors Program, 1995 National Winner
Young Investigator Award, International Society for Applied Cardiovascular Biology, 1996
The Fiber Society, Professional and Scientific Honorary Society, October 2005
Billy R. Martin Innovation Award, VCU Innovation Gateway, 2013
Outstanding Faculty Member for Undergraduate Research 2009 – VCU SOE Parent’s Council
Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, College of Fellows, 2013.
Fellow, National Academy of Inventors, 2016
2017 Award of Excellence by the Memphis-Area Joint Engineers Council
Omega Chi Epsilon, Chemical Engineering Honor Society, 1988
Alpha Eta Mu Beta, National Biomedical Engineering Honor Society, 2007