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I&I No. 2 - Interview with Anthony Atala



Interview with Dr. Atala


Byron Nelson

Anthony Atala, M.D., is the director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the W.H. Boyce Professor and Chair of the Department of Urology at Wake Forest University. He also was the inaugural editor of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, a position he still holds, and was a major factor in the journal’s launch in December 2011.

Dr. Atala is a practicing surgeon and an internationally renowned researcher in the area of regenerative medicine. In 2007, he and a team of Harvard University researchers showed that stem cells can be harvested from the amniotic fluid of pregnant women.

Today Dr. Atala heads a team of approximately 300 physicians and researchers at Wake Forest. His own work is focused on growing new human cells, tissues and organs, leading his team to recently engineer the first lab-grown organ to be implanted into a human -- a bladder. They also are developing an experimental fabrication technology that can "print" human tissue on demand.

To date 10 applications of technologies developed in Dr. Atala's laboratory have been used clinically.

His work through the years has earned Dr. Atala numerous awards, including the U.S. Congress funded Christopher Columbus Foundation Award, bestowed on a living American who is currently working on a discovery that will significantly affect society.