A Lebanese-American Doctor Is Engineering Lab-Grown Organs!

Dr. Anthony Atala is yet another Medical Doctor of Lebanese descent who is defying medical boundaries and leading medical innovation around the world.

Born in 1958 in Peru, and raised in Florida, he is the W.H. Boyce Professor and Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and Chair of the Department of Urology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina.

Driven to save lives by rebuilding organs, Dr. Anthony Atala is regarded as one of the most prominent medical experts in regenerative medicine.

His research mainly encompasses work on Regenerative Medicine, a practice that aims to repair diseased or damaged tissues using the body’s own cells. 

Along with his team at the Wake Forest Institute in North Carolina, he is currently using 3D printing techniques to produce human organs in the lab, a technique that promises to revolutionize people’s ability to “heal themselves.”

Atala grew up in Coral Gables, Florida, and attended the University of Miami. He earned his B.A. in Psychology before moving into Medicine. He went to medical school at the University of Louisville where he also completed his residency in Urology.

Between 1990-1992, he served as a Fellow at the Children’s Hospital Boston, which is affiliated to Harvard Medical School, where he trained under world-renowned pediatric urologic surgeons Alan Retik and Hardy Hendren.

Dr. Atala has been widely recognized for his scientific contributions to the medical field, as well as for his discoveries and research. 

His awards and accolades include The Christopher Columbus Foundation Award, which is bestowed on a living American who is working on a discovery that will significantly affect society, and The World Technology Award in Health and Medicine, which is presented to individuals achieving significant lasting progress.

Dr. Atala is also the recipient of

  • The Samuel D. Gross Prize, awarded every five years to a national leading surgical researcher by the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery;
  • The Barringer Medal from the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons;
  • The Gold Cystoscope Award from the American Urological Association for advances in the field;
  • The American Ingenuity Award for Life Sciences, awarded by Smithsonian Magazine in 2016.

In 2011, Dr. Atala was named by Scientific American as A Medical Treatments Leader of the Year for his contributions to the fields of cell, tissue, and organ regeneration.

Moreover, his work was listed as one of the “Top Ten Medical Breakthroughs of the Year,” by Time Magazine, and as “Top Science Story of the Year in the Field of Medicine in 2007” by Discover Magazine. 

Dr. Anthony Atala currently serves as an Editorial Board Member of the scientific journal Rejuvenation Research, a bimonthly peer-reviewed scientific journal published by Mary Ann Liebert and that covers research on rejuvenation and biogerontology.

That is in addition to serving on the National Board of Advisors for High Point University, a private liberal arts university in High Point, North Carolina. In 2011, he was hosted by TED-Ed of TED-Talks, presenting his famous thought-provoking speech on printing a human kidney.

Dr. Atala continues his work in developing replacement tissues and organs, while also working to speed up the availability of these treatments to patients.

Along with his fellow scientists, he is looking to translate the science of regenerative medicine into clinical therapies.

This is not short of a miracle. It is a very complicated procedure, for the cell biology chemistry, physiology, and pharmacology are involved, as Dr. Atala explained.

“For a patient waiting for that tissue, there is nothing more important. There are so many tissues and organs of the human body that need to be reworked.”

What seemed like science fiction just a few years ago, it is now happening. As per Forbes, Dr. Atala has already announced “long-term success in children and teenagers who received bladders grown from their own cells in 2006.”

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