Read about recent news and upcoming events from the Center for Engineering in Medicine & Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.


A listing of upcoming events that the Center for Engineering in Medicine & Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.



A Potential Step Forward in Burn Care Treatment

The work of two CEMS investigators, Dr. Aslihan Gokaltun, an instructor at the CEMS, and Dr. O. Berk Usta, an associate professor at the CEMS, was recently featured by the Shriners Children’s. Read more about their work on novel on-demand dissoluble hydrogels for burn care.


November 2022

Harvard Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Science (HUROS) Fair

Drs. Brad Ellis, Rohil Jain, Murat Karabacak and Basak Uygun attended Harvard Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Science (HUROS) Fair on November 4, 2022 to represent CEMS Summer Academy and help recruit talented students to the program.

4 individuals in a photo at a fair booth

June 2022

Congratulations to the 2022 Class of the Bridging Academia and Industry Training Program

CEMS Faculty Member Daniel Irimia, MD, PhD, and his team GranuloSight, won the annual project competition as part of 2022 Class of the Bridging Academia and Industry Training Program.


National Science Foundation Awards $26 Million to Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgery Co-Led Collaboration Focused on Preserving Cells, Tissue, Organs, Organisms

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $26 million grant to an ambitious collaboration involving the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgery (CEMS) to establish an engineering research center (ERC) that will develop, refine and expand technologies to “stop biologic time” by preserving, stabilizing and suspending living material. Co-led by Mass General and the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Engineering in Medicine, which will serve as the center’s administrative home, the ERC also includes the University of California, Riverside and the University of California, Berkeley as core collaborators.

Read the full press release


November 2019, Istanbul Turkey

ITU (Istanbul Technical University) bestows Dr. Mehmet Toner with an "Honorary Doctorate"

Dr. Mehmet Toner has been bestowed an "Honorary Doctorate" from his alma mater, Istanbul Technical University (ITU) in Turkey for his contributions to science and technology; and for being an exemplary role model for the academic community and new generations of scientists in Turkey and around the globe.

ITU is one of the world's oldest technical universities dedicated to engineering sciences as well as social sciences recently and is one of the most prominent educational institutions in Turkey.

October 2019

Dr. Marianna Bei and Dr. Basak Uygun’s co-edited book, titled “ON TISSUE ENGINEERING AND REGENERATIVE MEDICINE OF SKIN AND ITS APPENDAGES,” is now published

Access the book here

Oct. 21, 2019

Mehmet Toner elected to the National Academy of Medicine

Professor Mehmet Toner was among the 100 new members elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) for creating microfluidic devices with “real life” clinical applications in cancer diagnosis, prenatal diagnosis, regenerative medicine, and tissue engineering.

Election to NAM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. New members are elected by current members through a process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health.

The newly elected members bring NAM’s total membership to more than 2,200 and the number of international members to approximately 180. Newly elected NAM members were announced at the 2019 NAM Annual Meeting with the theme “The Evolution of Technology in Biomedical Science: Promises and Challenges” in Washington, DC on October 21st 2019.

Sept. 9, 2019

Scientists at the CEMS triple the practical preservation time for human livers

A group of scientists in the lab of Dr. Uygun at the Center for Engineering in Medicine & Surgery have extended the period of preservation for human livers for transplantation. The work relies on a new approach for preservation based on “supercooling of aqueous solutions." This technology was featured in an NIH news release and a personal tweet by Dr. Francis Collins among many other news outlets which celebrate this important breakthrough.

Sept. 1, 2019

Patent Issued to Professor Yarmush and Colleagues

A patent was issued to Professors Martin Yarmush and colleagues entitled, "Systems and Methods for Delivering Pulsed Electric Fields to Skin Tissue" (US Patent number: 10183163). The invention describes a system that creates an electric field profile via an electrode assembly applied about the skin tissue of a subject to control fibroblast characteristics while preserving vascular perfusion. Other inventors include: Alexander Golberg, Robert L. Sheridan, William Gerald Austen, G. Felix Broelsch, Boris Rubinsky, and Michael Belkin.

Aug. 9, 2019

CEMS Summer Academy Research Day

We celebrated our summer interns at the Summer Academy Research Day on Friday August 9, 2019. This summer we were lucky to have a brilliant group of 15 students mentored by our postdocs and faculty members.

The students successfully presented their work in this half-day event to share what they learned with the community. Congratulations to the class of 2019!

July 2019

Dr. Aylin Acun receives a Shriners Postdoctoral (Early Career) Fellowship

Dr. Aylin Acun, a postdoctoral fellow at the CEMS and the Department of Surgery at Mass General, has been awarded a two-year postdoctoral (early career) fellowship from the Shriners Hospitals for Children, for her work titled: “Engineering of vascular composite skin grafts using iPS cells.”

July 2019

Sandlin and Toner’s work featured in Nature Medicine

A news feature titled “On a wing and a prayer” about the work on the cryopreservation of mosquito embryos was published in Nature Medicine. This work was conducted in the laboratories of Drs. Sandlin and Dr. Toner

May 1, 2019

Yarmush Receives Two Grants from the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research

Professor Martin Yarmush was awarded 2 grants from the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research. The first is a 1-year $200,000 award to continue development of a method to treat spinal cord injury using encapsulated mesenchymal stromal cells that have been genetically modified to secrete enzymes that degrade proteoglycans to reduce glial scarring and suppress host inflammation.

April 2019

Dr. Karabacak receives a Harvard Medical School Shore Fellowship

Dr. Murat N. Karabacak, an instructor at the CEMS and Department of Surgery at Mass General, has been awarded the prestigious Eleanor and Miles Shore Fellowship from the Harvard Medical School. A short abstract of his work on traumatic brain injury which resulted in this award is provided below:

Our pathophysiological understanding, diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) have long suffered from a lack of biomarkers. Because the brain is a highly vascular organ, we hypothesize that TBI leaves “footprints” in the blood by shedding brain endothelial cells into the systemic circulation.

In this project, we propose to implement novel microfluidic technology to capture rare circulating brain endothelial cells alive and unaltered as a biomarker of TBI in animal models, enabling a wide range of mechanistic, diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic investigations.

February 25 2019, Istanbul, Turkey

Dr. Mehmet Toner Receives Prestigious Vehbi Koc Foundation Award for His Impact in Healthcare

Prof. Mehmet Toner, a founding director of the CEMS, received one of the most prestigious awards in Turkey for his lifetime scientific and educational achievements. Every year, the Vehbi Koc foundation of Turkey awards the foundation award to those with the highest impact in their own fields which span politics, culture, healthcare, science and education.

The foundation aims to award exemplary individuals with highest benefits to the society. The foundation specifically recognized Dr. Toner’s long-standing work on the identification of circulating tumor cells in blood via microfluidic platforms.

More information on the award here.

A Turkish language press release can be found here.

January 2019

Dr. Oliveira-Costa wins MGHRI image contest

Dr. Joao Paulo Oliveira Da Costa, representing Dr. Shannon Stott’s laboratory, won the Massachusetts General Hospital Research Institute Annual Photo Contest. Read the announcement and see the image.


November 2018

Drs. O. Berk Usta and Rebecca Sandlin are awarded NIH R21 award for deep supercooling preservation of sporozoites and mosquitos

Drs. Usta and Sandlin received a 2-year collaborative grant from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for developing deep supercooling preservation methods for sporozoites and mosquitos. The title of their project is “High Quality Long Term Preservation of Sporozoites via Deep Supercooling.”

October 1, 2018

NSF Highlights Research on Brain-on-a-Chip

The National Science Foundation has chosen innovative research performed under the leadership of Professor Martin Yarmush to highlight the impact of NSF-supported research in securing national health and well-being.

The project entitled Brain-on-a-Chip is a collaborative effort among several collaborating faculty at Rutgers including Professors Rene Schloss, Jeff Zahn, Nada Boustany and Bonnie Firestein.

August 30, 2018

Uygun and Yeh awarded NIH grant for liver transplant project

Drs. Korkut Uygun and Heidi Yeh received a new award from the NIH, a competing renewal of the project "Development of a liver viability index for transplantation."

The project aims to clinically test a novel approach to evaluate the viability of livers prior to transplantation, and therefore enable more aggressively utilizing donor organs and saving lives; it is estimated that more than a 1,000 donor livers currently discarded for concern of failure could be utilized for treating liver failure with the help of an objective, quantitative metric.

The project received an enthusiastic score of 1% upon review, and we are excited to see our center's early efforts in rat models reach the stage of clinical trials.

July 8, 2018

Hafiz receives Feroze Ghadially Award from Society for Ultrastructural Pathology

Ehab O. A. Hafiz MBBCh. MSc.’s award-winning work was titled “Hepatic organoids co-populated with hepatocytes and cholangiocytes: Towards engineered liver grafts with biliary drainage.” More details on his abstract can be found here.

July 2, 2018

Yarmush Receives Grant from the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF)

Professor Martin Yarmush and Dr. Alex Golberg from Tel Aviv University were awarded a 4-year $270,000 US-Israel BSF grant to develop a method to reduce scarring after burn injury using pulsed electric field technology.

May 31, 2018

Uygun's work was featured in NIH Director's Blog

"A new supercooling technique that promises to extend the time that organs donated for transplantation can remain viable outside the body." "For example, current technology can preserve donated livers outside the body for just 24 hours. In animal studies, this new technique quadruples that storage time to up to four days." More information here.

March 20, 2018

Yarmush Awarded a Lady Davis Fellowship at Hebrew University

Professor Martin Yarmush has been awarded a Visiting Professor Fellowship from the Lady Davis Fellowship Trust to engage in teaching and research activities at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.

Professor Yarmush will be working with Professor Yaakov Nahmias, Director of the Alexandar Grass Center for Bioengineering (and a former postdoctoral fellow), and other faculty colleagues on a variety of projects including new organ-on-a-chip technologies.


October 26, 2017

Research Institute publishes an article profiling Dr. Uygun's research on building bioengineered livers and grafts in the lab

Titled "Putting the pieces together in the quest to rebuild the liver in the lab," the article highlight's bioengineered liver research from Basak Uygun, PhD, and the impact the Claflin Award has had on her career.

September 25, 2017

Yarmush and Uygun Receive Continued NIH Support for Developing Recellularized Organs

Professors Martin Yarmush and Basak Uygun have been awarded a 4-year $1,605,506 research grant from the National Institute of Health for a project entitled, "Recellularization of Liver Bioscaffolds."

The project’s goal is to engineer transplantable human liver grafts for treating liver dysfunction and failure, and the central hypothesis to be tested here is that the natural liver scaffold derived from discarded livers can be extensively repopulated with hepatocytes and non-parenchymal cells and that these grafts can perform essential liver functions.

September 18, 2017

Patent Issued to Yarmush and Colleagues

A patent was issued to Professor Martin Yarmush and former Rutgers colleagues and students, Tim Maguire, Stanley Dunn, Kevin Nikitczuk, and Eric Novik, entitled, "Automated Vessel Puncture Device using 3-D Near Infrared Imaging and a Robotically Driven Needle” (US Patent Number 9743875).

The invention describes the development of automated robotic venipuncture device containing three major components: (1) an imaging system; (2) an automated robotic end-effector unit; and (3) a computer (controller and interface).

August 14, 2017

Patent Issued to Professors Yarmush, Berthiaume, and Schloss

A patent was issued to Professor Martin Yarmush, entitled, "In Vitro Model of Macrosteatotic (Fatty) Liver” (US patent number 9,709,554). The invention describes the development of an in vitro model for macrosteatosis which can be used for identifying compounds for defatting and functional recovery of fatty hepatocytes.

July 31, 2017

Toner, Uygun, and Yarmush Receive NIH Grant to Develop New Liver Preservation Technique

Professors Mehmet Toner, Korkut Uygun, and Martin Yarmush have been awarded a 4-year, $1,539,000 research grant from the NIH for a project entitled, "High subzero preservation of liver for transplantation”. The project proposes a method for preserving mammalian organs which employs hibernating and freeze-tolerant strategies from nature, that are further augmented using bioengineering principles.

May 27, 2017

New Book Released

A new book edited by Professors Martin Yarmush and Alexander Golberg (Tel Aviv University) was published on 27th May 2017. It is titled “Bioengineering In Wound Healing A Systems Approach” and part of series in “Frontiers in Nanobiomedical Research” published by World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd. More details here.

May 23, 2017

Yarmush and Colleagues Receive NJCSCR Grant to Develop New Wound Healing Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury Patients

Professors Martin Yarmush, Francois Berthiaume, Rene Schloss have been awarded a 2-year $200,000 research grant from the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research for a project entitled, "Pulsed Electric Fields for Spinal Cord Injury Wound Healing."

The project is based on the group's previous work showing that pulsed electric fields, which kill only the cells in skin (while leaving all extracellular structures intact), can improve wound healing after burn injury.

March 18, 2017

CEMS Faculty and Family Presented Recent Advances at the Bioengineering 2017 Conference

Third Annual Bioengineering 2017 Conference took place in Boston on March 16th and 17th with significant contribution from CEMS. The theme for the conference this year was BioMEMS, 3D-BioPrinting & Synthetic Biology. CEMS Faculty Shannon Stott, Mehmet Toner, Martin Yarmush, and Daniel Irimia gave keynote presentations and Berk Usta was an invited speakers.

Martin Yarmush opened the conference by his talk entitled “Hills and Valleys in the Landscape of Cell-Based BioMEMS and Tissue Engineering”, where he gave an overview of recent advances in the fields of cellular BioMEMS and tissue engineering. He emphasized important considerations for the field that may help spur future meaningful advancements.

Mehmet Toner’s talk titled “Microfluidics to Isolate Single and Clusters of Rare Circulating Tumor Cells to Manage Cancer Patients”, gave an overview of microfluidic systems developed specifically to isolate extremely rare circulating tumor cells.

He introduced more recently designed CTC-iChip system based on the inertial focusing strategy, which allows positioning of cells in a near-single file line, so that they can be precisely deflected using minimal magnetic force.

Shannon Stott’s talk was titled “Exploring the Biophysics of Circulating Tumor Cell Clusters Using Microfluidics”, where she presented their studies on larger aggregates or clusters of tumor cells that are found in most aggressive cancers in minute amounts, but once detected could be used as “liquid biopsy” in cancer.

Daniel Irimia’s talk was titled “Accurate Sepsis Diagnostic in a Microfluidic Assay” where he introduced a novel microfluidic platform which could be used to identify sepsis in patients with extremely high precision, by measuring the motility phenotype of neutrophils, directly in a droplet of blood.

In addition, CEMS alumni Jeff Morgan, Jungwoo Lee, Albert Folch, Tania Konry also presented their work.

February 10, 2017

Martin Yarmush and Mehmet Toner elected to the National Academy of Engineering

Professors Martin Yarmush and Mehmet Toner were among 84 new members and 22 foreign associates elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.

Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/ implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

Individuals in the newly elected class will be formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 8, 2017.

January 19, 2017

Patent Issued to Professor Yarmush

A patent was issued to Professor Martin Yarmush and colleagues from L’Oreal and Hurel Corp. entitled, "Immune System Modeling and Devices” (US patent number 9,535,056). The invention describes the development of an allergy-on-a-chip device which can be used to detect and classify chemicals that cause an immune reaction.


December 12, 2016

Yarmush Delivers Keynote Presentation at the Annual TERMIS Meeting

Professor Martin Yarmush, delivered a Keynote Presentation at the annual meeting of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) held in San Diego, CA. The title of his presentation was "Multiscale Tissue Engineering: from Novel Microfabricated In Vivo Analogues to Organ Fabrication" September 22, 2016

October 2016

Usta and Yarmush Received a Startup Grant from the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF)

Professors Berk Usta, Martin Yarmush and Alex Golberg (from Tel Aviv University), were awarded a 2-year $120,000 US-Israel BSF Grant to develop a nonchemical wound disinfection process using pulsed electric field technology.

August 22, 2016

Dr. Daniel Irimia wins Pioneers of Miniaturization Award

Daniel Irimia received the 11th "Pioneers of Miniaturization" award from the Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society for his work on neutrophils and microfluidics. Daniel received a certificate and monetary award and gave a short lecture during the µTAS conference in Dublin, Ireland in October (2016).

July 1, 2016

Dr. Yin Yu has been awarded the Shriners postdoctoral fellowship

This award will help to fund his research project entitled: "Scarless Wound Healing And Skin Regeneration By Irreversible Electroporation," which will focus on developing devices to help skin regeneration without hypertropic scarring for burn victims.

July 01, 2016

Dr. Maria Jaramillo has been awarded the Shriners postdoctoral fellowship

This award will help to fund her research project entitled: "Design of pre-vascularized skin grafts with controlled capillary network geometry," which will help creating better skin substitutes to help improve the wound healing outcome.

June 8, 2016

Dr. Negin Karimian has been awarded the prestigious Thomas Starzl Fellowship from the American Liver Foundation

The Thomas E. Starzl Postdoctoral Fellowship in Transplantation Biology has been established as a mentored award to provide funding for postdoctoral fellows who have a clear commitment to transplantation research. Candidates needed to have completed a maximum of 3 years of postdoctoral research at the time of award, and show impressive merit and potential in their research.

This award will help to fund her research project entitled: A Novel Approach to Improve Organ Viability and Availability before Orthotopic Liver Transplantation.

February 6, 2016

Dr. Mehmet Toner and Dr. Korkut Uygun's work was highlighted in The Economist in an article called "Wait not in vain"

The tagline for the article is "After decades of piecemeal progress, the science of cryogenically storing human organs is warming up."

After discussing Dr. Toner's concept for how to freeze an organ, a nice highlight was the sentence, "Last year Korkut Uygun of Harvard Medical School, in collaboration with Dr Toner, demonstrated that a combination of cooling and perfusion could preserve a rat liver for four days."

January 14, 2016

Dr. Basak Uygun was invited to speak on the subject “Engineering Organs for Transplantation” at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences Colloquium, Northeastern University

The abstract of her paper on the subject is found below:

Orthotopic liver transplantation is the only definitive treatment for end stage liver failure and the shortage of donor organs severely limits the number of patients receiving transplants. Liver tissue engineering aims to address the donor liver shortage by creating functional tissue constructs to replace a damaged or failing liver.

Despite decades of work, various bottoms-up, synthetic biomaterials approaches have failed to produce a functional construct suitable for transplantation.

Recently, a new strategy has emerged using whole organ scaffolds as a vehicle for tissue engineering. This technique involves preparation of these organ scaffolds via perfusion decellularization with the resulting scaffold retaining the circulatory network of the native organ. This important phenomenon allows for the construct to be repopulated with cells and to be connected to the blood torrent upon transplantation.

This opinion paper presents the current advances and discusses the challenges of creating fully functional transplantable liver grafts with this whole liver engineering approach.


November 10, 2015

Dr. O. Berk USTA gives an invited talk at the annual “Screening and Functional Analysis of 3D Models” Congress

Dr. Usta delivers a critical review of the evolution of in vitro liver technologies at Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s 3rd Annual “Screening and Functional Analysis of 3D Models.”

More information can be found at:

The brief abstract of this talk is provided below:

The liver performs many key functions such as serving as the metabolic hub of the body. For this reason, the liver is the focal point of many investigations aimed at understanding an organism’s toxicological response to endogenous and exogenous challenges. We will present a survey and critical comparison of in vitro liver technologies along a broad spectrum, but focus on the current renewed push to develop “organs-on-a-chip” in our laboratory and elsewhere.

November 2015

Dr. Martin Yarmush Receives the 2015 Robert A. Pritzker Distinguished Lectureship Award from Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) at the Annual BMES Meeting

Dr. Martin Yarmush, the current and founding director of CEMS, is an internationally recognized bioengineer and translational scientist whose laboratory has been a pioneer and leader in multiple fields including tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, applied immunology and biotechnology, BioMEMs and nanotechnology, and metabolic engineering and functional genomics.

Martin L. Yarmush's Brooklyn roots imprinted qualities onto him like fighting for the underdog, good instincts and the desire to start new work that is solid and lasts, he said at the BMES Annual Meeting during his Pritzker Distinguished Lecturer talk. The main theme of his talk was: "Find something you love and see it through,"

Part 1 -

Part 2-

The Pritzker Distinguished Lectureship Award is awarded each year to recognize an individual's outstanding achievements and leadership in the science and practice of biomedical engineering. The award recipient is expected to deliver a plenary lecture at the Annual Meeting in the fall and publish the text of the lecture in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering. A very important purpose of the lecture is to critically review a field of biomedical engineering and offer a vision of its future.

September 2015

Dr. O. Berk USTA and his team receive funding from the NIH to investigate zonation of liver function in novel in vitro microfluidic platforms

The R21 grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIH/NIBIB 1R21EB020192) will support this exciting research at the Center for Engineering in Medicine & Surgery for the next two years. A brief description of the research is provided below:

Owing to its central role in drug metabolism, the liver is also one of the main targets for the toxic effects of xenobiotics. Accordingly, accurate prediction of toxicity of a variety of compounds using in vitro liver models is a significant step towards reducing animal use for such studies and accordingly reduction in drug development costs.

In this project we are building a microfluidic liver model that aims to recapitulate the heterogeneity of liver cells (zonation) across a liver sinusoid; this will result in improved prediction of the effect of pharmaceutical compounds that have zone-specific toxic effects.

We will achieve this by integrating several key advances developed in our lab such as a multi-layer microfluidic culture device, actively controlled gradient generator and an ultra-thin collagen coating.

Further information about this funding can be found on the NIH RePORTER using the following link: