Shirwaiker Becomes Co-Associate Director of CMI

Original article by Linda Costine

The Functional Tissue Engineering Program (FTE) is welcoming new leadership. Dr. Binil Starly will be stepping down and Dr. Lauren Schnabel and Dr. Rohan Shirwaiker will become co-Associate Directors. Dr. Matthew Fisher will be heading the Musculoskeletal Group under the purview of the FTE.

Dr. Lauren Schnabel is an Assistant Professor of Equine Orthopedic Surgery in the Department of Clinical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Her research emphasis is in regenerative therapies for the treatment of equine musculoskeletal disorders. Dr. Schnabel’s leadership and knowledge will be complemented by Dr. Shirwaiker, an Associate Professor in the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering in the College of Engineering. He will bring expertise in 3D Tissue Manufacturing focusing on the advancement of science and technology of scalable manufacturing of engineered tissues to products to address clinical needs.

“We are honored to assume this leadership position in the CMI. Our goal is to enable and promote partnerships among FTE members and with external organizations including industry, government, and foundations to accelerate the translation of functional tissue engineering technologies. This year, we plan to achieve this by providing our multidisciplinary teams with the support necessary to succeed in obtaining extramural funding and advancing their research programs. This will include funding for preliminary data as well as opportunities that will bring members together to expand our collective FTE expertise, according to Dr. Shirwaiker and Dr. Schnabel in an official statement.”

Dr. Matthew Fisher will officially step into the position of the Musculoskeletal Group head. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill. “His long-research goal is to utilize quantitative metrics and engineering principles to understand why individual tissue engineering and regenerative medicine approaches succeed within the body and to employ this knowledge to develop superior technologies, with a strong focus on orthopaedic soft tissues.”

When asked about his new position within CMI, Dr. Fisher responded: “I am very excited to take on this position. Clearly, CMI sees the value and potential of the ongoing musculoskeletal research at NC State, and I look forward to strengthening ties among musculoskeletal researchers across campus. I also hope that this effort will lead to new and exciting areas of research. I believe we have a unique collection of expertise and resources that can lead to advances in basic science, clinical care, and commercial translation related to these important tissues.”

The Comparative Medicine Institute would like to thank Dr. Starly for his years of service in advancing the Functional Tissue Engineering Program.