April 17, 2017. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD, the Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering, professor of medical sciences at P&S, and director of Columbia’s Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering at CUMC, has been appointed a University Professor, Columbia University’s highest academic honor. The medical center now has five faculty members who are University Professors. The professorships are granted to members of the faculty in recognition of exceptional scholarly merit and distinguished service to Columbia. Dr. Vunjak-Novakovic has been a pioneer in the engineering of functional human tissue for use in regenerative medicine. Together with her research team, she has been able to engineer cardiac tissue by culturing stem cells and to grow bone grafts for facial reconstruction surgery. Her discoveries have led to new approaches for treating injuries and complex diseases and have supported the development and evaluation of therapeutic drugs. “The impact of Professor Vunjak-Novakovic’s discoveries on society and human health provides only a partial account of Professor Vunjak-Novakovic’s many contributions to this institution, higher education, and the world beyond,” said President Lee C. Bollinger in announcing the appointment. Dr. Vunjak-Novakovic completed her PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Belgrade and relocated to the United States after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship. She is the founder of three public-spirited biotechnology companies, the first woman engineer to deliver the Director’s Lecture at the National Institutes of Health, and the first of Columbia’s female faculty members to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering. read more
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As a result, currently 8 out of 9 drugs tested for cardiotoxicity fail in clinical trials, after spending significant time.