Request for Information for Scientific Issues to be Explored at an Upcoming "Imaging in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Workshop" to be sponsored by the Multi-Agency Tissue Engineering Science (MATES) Interagency Working Group

Notice Number: NOT-EB-11-001

Key Dates

Release Date:   January 3, 2011
Response Due By: February 15, 2011

Issued by

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)

The Multi-Agency Tissue Engineering Science (MATES) Interagency Working Group (, which is comprised of several Federal Government Research, Regulatory, and Funding Agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, will be sponsoring a workshop in the Summer/Fall of 2011 to engage the research community in identifying gaps and opportunities for the development and use of imaging methods in tissue engineering (TE) and regenerative medicine (RM). The purpose of this RFI is to solicit information that will be useful in developing the agenda for this workshop. 



The MATES Interagency Working Group, organized under the auspices of the Subcommittee on Biotechnology of the National Science and Technology Council, is the means by which Federal Agencies involved in tissue engineering stay informed of each other’s activities and coordinate efforts in a timely and efficient manor in order to maximize the benefits to society of the Federal investment in tissue science and engineering. In June of 2007, the Working Group developed a strategic plan ( that identifies opportunities for dramatic advances in this field.  One of the overarching goals of the strategic plan is the development of enabling tools including imaging technologies. 

Studies of engineered tissue constructs are generally conducted using destructive analysis methods; in vitro and in vivo studies typically result in construct analysis at a single time point after the sample is removed from the incubator or after the animal is sacrificed. This approach results in loss of important information encoded in the temporal and spatial behavior patterns that can be detected only with spatially resolved analysis at multiple time points. Imaging methods that allow real-time, non-invasive study of structure and function on the tissue, cellular, and sub-cellular levels could significantly advance the field of tissue science and engineering.

Some imaging challenges for tissue engineering identified by the MATES group include quantization, resolution at many levels from molecular to tissue to whole body, viewing tissue mass in 3D, validated imaging methods and protocols to improve interoperability of data, and improved correlation between in vitro assays in the laboratory and in vivo conditions in the body.  Also, the development of effective tissue-engineered products will require the ability to demonstrate safety and performance characteristics. Effective imaging methods will have to be developed for this and to produce tissues of choice consistently through execution of controlled in vitro protocols.  Development of imaging tools for on line monitoring of engineered tissues during their manufacturing is another critical area.  Finally, analytic test methods will need to be developed that permit identification and characterization of the intended final tissue. These test methods should possess sufficient precision to ensure product safety and anticipate possible effectiveness. 

MATES envisions the workshop focusing mainly on two areas: 1) imaging methods that may serve as tools for basic characterization of tissue constructs and; 2)  imaging methods to enable the translation to clinical research.   The MATES working group also hopes that the workshop will increase collaborations between the TE/RM and imaging research communities including matching cutting edge imaging and image analysis approaches to outstanding needs in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.


Through this RFI, MATES is seeking information that will be useful in developing the agenda for the workshop. Specifically, MATES is seeking input to the items listed below. 

1.  Identify the biggest needs and challenges for in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo imaging of engineered tissues.

2.  Describe the kind of information would that will be useful to obtain through imaging to guide the development of engineered tissues as well as their safety and clinical effectiveness.

3.  Comment on the macroscopic and microscopic imaging modalities currently being used in tissue engineering.

4.  Describe the imaging needs going forward.

5.  Comment on other questions which should be addressed at the workshop.


Responses should be submitted via email to and will be accepted through February 15, 2011.  

Responses to individual questions are voluntary and may be anonymous.  Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in your response.  The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s). 

This Request for Information (RFI) is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and/or National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. The NIH does not intend to award a grant or contract to pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the NIH’s use of such information.  Respondents will not be notified of the NIH evaluation of the information received.  No basis for claims against the NIH shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or the NIH’s use of such information as either part of our evaluation process or in developing specifications for any subsequent announcement.  Responses will be held confidential.  Proprietary information should not be sent.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Christine A. Kelley, Ph.D., Director, Division of Discovery Science and Technology
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20892
301-451-4778 Phone, 301-480-1614 FAX;

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