Promoting research to advance medicine for the military is the focus of a newly established center at the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine associate director Rocky Tuan, PhD, the Arthur J. Rooney Sr. Chair in Sports Medicine and the executive vice chair for research and director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, is its founding director with support from McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Peter Strick, PhD, distinguished professor, Department of Neurobiology.
“I am delighted to have this opportunity to marshal our considerable research talents across multiple disciplines to improve the health and function of our injured soldiers,” Dr. Tuan said.
The Center for Military Medicine Research, Health Sciences, will explore applications of regenerative medicine, reconstructive medicine, transplantation immunology, and neuroscience, including traumatic brain injury and neuroprosthetics, with the aim of getting innovative therapies to wounded warriors, said Arthur S. Levine, MD, senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean, School of Medicine.
“The center represents a formal mechanism through which the challenges and opportunities of casualty care and wound healing can be examined at an advanced research level,” he said. “It will identify a network of successful partnerships and collaborations between scientists, clinicians, industry, and the U.S. departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to foster the most promising research technologies and therapeutic strategies.”
A 2004 recipient of the Marshall Urist Award for Excellence in Tissue Regeneration Research of the Orthopaedic Research Society, Dr. Tuan is internationally known for his research in stem cell biology and musculoskeletal tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, and for his leadership role in biomedical education. He is editor of the developmental biology journal BDRC: Embryo Today and the founding editor-in-chief of Stem Cell Research and Therapy; a member of the board of councilors of the American Society for Matrix Biology and Tissue Engineering and the Regenerative Medicine International Society-Americas; and a scientific advisory council member of the Regenerative Medicine Foundation.
Before joining Pitt in 2009, Dr. Tuan was chief of the Cartilage Biology and Orthopaedics Branch at the National Institute of Arthritis, and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. He received his undergraduate education at Swarthmore College and Berea College, his doctorate in 1977 from Rockefeller University and postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Strick will work closely with Dr. Tuan to establish the center. He also holds the Endowed Chair in Systems Neuroscience, and is senior research career scientist at the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System, co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, and director of the Systems Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Strick, whose research efforts focus on understanding the neural circuits that govern voluntary movement, was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Retired Col. Ronald Poropatich, MD, MS, will serve as the center’s executive director and Ann Gleeson, formerly of the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative, will be its managing director.