Integrating Developmental Biology with Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine in Musculoskeletal Tissues and Skin: NIAMS Areas of Interest in Bioengineering Research Partnerships [R01]

Notice Number: NOT-AR-07-002

Key Dates
Release Date: April 11, 2007

Issued by
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) (

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) issues this notice to inform prospective investigators that the NIAMS will use the Bioengineering Research Partnerships [R01] Program Announcement to promote translational research integrating developmental biology with musculoskeletal and skin tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TE/RM).

Background: The repair and restoration of musculoskeletal tissues and skin presents many challenges. Injury, loss, and degeneration of these tissues, often within complex multi-tissue environments, constitute a very significant public health problem. Even though bone, muscle and skin exhibit robust regenerative capacity in healthy individuals, significant interventions are necessary to regenerate large amounts of tissue or when the endogenous regenerative capacity is compromised. The repair and regeneration of cartilage, meniscus, tendon, ligament, and intervertebral disc are especially difficult in spite of the efforts directed toward the development of tissue engineering approaches. There may be illuminating parallels between the repair of mature connective and contractile tissues and the original formation of these tissues during embryonic development and growth. While the generation of new functional musculoskeletal connective tissues is quite limited in mature vertebrates, they are generated quickly and with unerring accuracy during embryonic development. Likewise, wound healing in human fetal skin in the first two trimesters of pregnancy leads to complete regeneration of the skin without a scar, whereas it leads to scar formation at later times. Comparing the repair of mature tissues with the formation of musculoskeletal tissues and skin during development and growth may yield insights that can be translated into novel TE/RM therapeutic approaches. Furthermore, tissue regeneration by TE/RM approaches often needs to occur in a much shorter time than that of native tissue formation. Identifying the key biological mechanisms and translating them into practical applications requires extensive and long-term collaboration between biologists and tissue engineering specialists.

Research objectives: To promote the integration of developmental biology principles into tissue engineering efforts for musculoskeletal tissues and skin, the NIAMS intends to support collaborative multi-disciplinary groups of scientists, consisting of developmental biologists and tissue engineers who have identified one or more of the following research foci: 1) translation of the current understanding of developmental and/or remodeling mechanisms into practical applications for TE/RM; 2) determination of the requirements for materials, biological agents, cells, or combinations thereof, in a particular clinical application, for effective TE/RM approaches; 3) resolution of a basic biological problem having particular importance for the implementation of TE/RM. Investigators are encouraged to use the multiple-PI option in planning research projects in order to facilitate contributions from different scientific specialties.

The Bioengineering Research Partnerships (R01) program is not exclusively for the above studies, and other proposals relevant to arthritis, musculoskeletal and skin diseases and appropriate for this funding mechanism are also encouraged.


Specific questions about this Notice may be directed to:

Fei Wang, Ph.D.
Director, Musculoskeletal Development, Tissue Engineering, and Regenerative Medicine Program
Musculoskeletal Diseases Branch
6701 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 800
Bethesda, MD 20892-4872
P: (301) 594-5055; F: (301) 480-4543

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