Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Training Pipeline in Translational Biomaterials Research and Regenerative Medicine

Mark W. Grinstaff, Hilton M. Kaplan, Joachim Kohn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The translation of biomaterial based and regenerative therapies from the laboratory to patients involves multiple challenges. One of the most pressing challenges is the educational one: to train a cohort of scientists and engineers capable of translating their discoveries from bench to market to clinic. To meet this need, translational training programs are being implemented globally at universities and as partnerships between universities and corporations. In this perspective, we describe two translational NIH T32 graduate and postgraduate training programs that augment the traditional approach to training early stage scientists and engineers. At the graduate level, Boston University developed and implemented the Translational Research in Biomaterials (TRB) predoctoral training program. At the postgraduate level, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, developed and implemented the Translational Research in Regenerative Medicine (TRRM) program for postdoctoral training. These programs are motivated by the need for training in translational research in the biomedical field, by young scientists' requests for such training, and by the fundamental challenges facing future discovery and clinical implementation of biomaterial-based technologies. The TRB program immerses trainees in the concept of translating an idea from the research laboratory to the clinic, introduces them to the challenges of such an endeavor, provides discussions with relevant faculty (for example, with businesses, patient care, or clinical trial experience), and educates them in the critical areas required for their future careers. Similarly, the TRRM program emphasizes translational research and the concept of "training without borders," which enables collaborations across several geographically dispersed institutions so as to make regional experts accessible regardless of where they are located physically. Both programs promote interdisciplinary research, expose young scientists and engineers to challenges outside of their specialty, and build interpersonal skills for cross-disciplinary communication. The TRB program focuses on quantitative science and engineering courses, together with translation-based courses in clinical trials and business. The TRRM program focuses on broadening the horizon of its trainees through exposure to a wider network of mentors than traditional postdoctoral programs, and by encouraging trainees to engage in collaborative research across at least two different laboratories. Both programs meet significant public health needs: the skills that trainees acquire are essential in future biomedical careers as they join teams that combine diverse backgrounds to meet a common goal in research, development, and ultimately commercialization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3919-3926
Number of pages8
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 10 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


  • biomaterials
  • graduate education
  • postdoctoral training
  • predoctoral training
  • regenerative medicine
  • translation


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