William R. Wagner is the Director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine as well as a Distinguished Professor of Surgery, Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. He also currently serves as the Deputy Director of the NSF Engineering Research Center on “Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials” and Chief Scientific Officer of the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine. He is the former Chairman of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) – Americas (2015-2017). He holds a BS (Johns Hopkins Univ.) and PhD (Univ. of Texas) in Chemical Engineering.
Professor Wagner is the Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of one of the leading biomaterials and biomedical engineering journals, Acta Biomaterialia, and currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Organogenesis, Experimental Biology & Medicine, and the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Wagner is a past president of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO; 2010-2011) and has served on the Executive Board of the International Federation of Artificial Organs (IFAO). He is a fellow and former vice president of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE; 2000) and has been elected a fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society (2007), the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering (2008), the American Heart Association (2001) and TERMIS (2015). He has served as Chairman for the Gordon Research Conference on Biomaterials: Biocompatibility & Tissue Engineering as well as for the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting, ASAIO, and the First World Congress of TERMIS. He was previously recognized by selection to the “Scientific American 50”, the magazine’s annual list recognizing leaders in science and technology from the research, business and policy fields. In 2011 he was awarded the Society for Biomaterials Clemson Award for Applied Research, in 2012 he received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award from the University of Pittsburgh and in 2013 he received the TERMIS Senior Scientist Award. He has served on numerous NIH and NSF study sections, is a member of the NIH College of Reviewers, and has been a member of external review committees for national and international organizations focused on bioengineering and regenerative medicine. His research has generated numerous patents and patent filings that have resulted in licensing activity, the formation of a company that has reached clinical trials, and University of Pittsburgh Innovator Awards in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014, and 2018. In 2017, he was inducted as a Fellow in the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), and in 2018, he was named Inventor of the Year, by the Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Las Association.
Dr. Wagner's research interests are generally in the area of cardiovascular engineering with projects that address medical device biocompatibility and design, hypothesis-driven biomaterials development, tissue engineering, and targeted imaging. His research group has been comprised of graduate students in Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering as well as post-doctoral fellows with backgrounds in surgery, polymer chemistry, or engineering. Dr. Wagner and his group enjoy working across the spectrum from in vitro to clinical studies. The McGowan Institute and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center are uniquely positioned to allow such broad-based projects to flourish and complement one another. Researchers within Dr. Wagner's group are afforded the opportunity to observe first-hand the clinical successes and failures of currently employed cardiovascular devices while concurrently working on projects that attempt to describe the current modes of failure, test solutions for the current device shortcomings, or develop technologies that may find application as future cardiovascular therapies. The front-line experience afforded by the clinical environment has proven invaluable in the learning experience of group members, not to mention the input such experience has on the creative environment.
Many of the research activities of the Wagner Group are summarized on the lab’s website.