Course Title: Bioen 498 – Tissue Engineering

Instructor: Deok-Ho Kim

Credits: 3

UW General Catalog Course Description: Tissue engineering is newly emerging field focused on the construction of biological substitutes containing viable and functioning cells for the restoration, maintenance or improvement of tissue function. This course will provide a thorough understanding of tissue engineering in a 3 credit course.

Prerequisites by Course: None

Prerequisites by Topic: Introductory biology and chemistry

Overview: This course will provide an overview of cell biology fundamentals, an extensive review on extracellular matrix and basics of receptors, followed by topics on cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions at both the theoretical and experimental levels. Subsequent lectures will cover the effects of physical (shear, stress, strain), chemical (cytokins, growth factors), and electrical stimuli on cell function, emphasizing topics on gene regulation and signal transduction processes. Tissue engineering will be introduced by reviewing tissue structure and function and the clinical need for tissue repair. An overview of scaffold design and processing for tissue engineering will be reviewed and the application of tissue engineering to specialized tissues and organs will then be addressed in depth. Specific organ systems include skin, muscular skeletal system (vascular grafts, blood substitutions, cardiac patch, and heart valve), nervous system (peripheral and central nervous systems), liver, pancreas, and kidney.


  1. Tissue Engineering, Palsson and Bhatia (required).
  2. Handouts and Journal Articles are used to supplement the book and to provide more depth in subject matter.
  3. The Principles of Tissue Engineering (3rd edition), by Lanza, Langer, and Vacanti (reference).

Course Objectives:

  1. Understand the fundamental and quantitative principles of tissue engineering and the basic elements of the tissue engineering approach.
  2. Appreciate the important contribution of tissue engineering in producing/growing organs that can be used for therapeutic applications.
  3. Be able to discuss the use of stem cell in tissue engineering for wound healing.
  4. Appreciate the need for compatible biomaterials to support growth and differentiation of stem cells into functional organ.

Topics Covered:

  1. Principles of tissue engineering
  2. Cell-matrix and cell-cell interactions
  3. Biomaterials in tissue engineering
  4. Stem cells
  5. Tissue microfabrication
  6. Cells and tissue characterization
  7. Musculoskeletal  tissue engineering
  8. Cardiovascular tissue engineering
  9. Neural tissue engineering
  10. Clinical applications

Course Schedule: Two 80 minute lecture periods per week.

Computer Use: Requires word-processing software for preparing homework assignments and the final report, and on-line access to communicate via email and download materials from the course web site.  Access to electronic journal databases, such as PubMed, will be provided through the University of Washington on-line network while on campus or via the remote server or the BIOEN student terminal server when a student is off-campus.  All students who are registered in this course will have access to the BIOEN student terminal server/remote desktop through which EndNote Web software can be accessed, which will be needed for the final report.

Outcomes Addressed By This Course: This course presents, through bi-weekly class meetings, a general introduction to tissue engineering as well as specific applications stemming from the field.  Literature discussions provide students the opportunity to research and explore the current state of the field.  Students first learn substantial background in tissue engineering and then practice the engineering design process in a group, which involves developing and preparing a research grant proposal of a viable tissue engineering project.

(d) “An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams.”

(Work constructively in teams to solve bioengineering problems.) Most in-class exercises in this course require that students work in groups of ≈ 4 or 5.  Throughout this course, student will have the opportunity to develop their team work skills as they interact with students with a variety of interests and backgrounds.  Assessment of the student’s ability to work constructively in teams will be conducted through the final written and oral team presentation, as well as peer assessment of team member contributions to the final group project.

  (f) “An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.”

          (Apply engineering ethical analysis strategies and problem solving skills to design solutions to ethical problems, and identify ethical issues applicable to bioengineering.) In this course, students will be presented with case studies involving a variety of ethical issues, in order to gain an understanding of the importance of considering ethics in bioengineering.  We will discuss the ethical issues involved in a variety of tissue engineering-related areas, such as clinical trials, organ transplantation, and stem cell therapies.  Students will learn a strategy for designing ethical solutions and will then be asked to apply the strategy to a variety of professional and scientific situations.  Student competency will be formally assessed through an individually-based assignment on ethical analysis.

(h) “The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.”

          (Identify potential global and societal impacts of proposed solutions.) This class will introduce students to a wide variety of bioengineering challenges and solutions. Through concrete examples, this course will provide students with an understanding of how stem engineering solutions have a real-world impact.  Student competency in this area will be assessed through an individually-based assignment, in which students identify the potential global and societal impact of their proposed solutions generated in their group final project.

(i) “A recognition of the need for, and the ability to engage in life-long learning.”

          (Conduct self-directed inquiry by finding, understanding, evaluating, and citing information and literature relevant to bioengineering problems.) This course will teach students the tools of self-directed inquiry and communication of ideas necessary for life-long learning, including evaluation of scientific literature and citation skills.  Assessment of this competency will be through individually-based assignments per each lecture, in which students must: 1) obtain, evaluate, and cite information from the scientific literature and other sources regarding a tissue bioengineering problem and 2) critically evaluate selected scientific publications.

(j) “A knowledge of contemporary issues.” 

          (Identify the types of contemporary problems that can be solved with bioengineering skills and approaches.) This course will provide students with an overview of the current state of tissue engineering.  This course requires students to perform literature searches and to investigate the current state of the art for a variety of areas, including tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.  Throughout lectures, students will be exposed to a variety of contemporary issues in tissue engineering, from biomaterial scaffold design to stem cell therapy and tissue regeneration.  Student competency will be assessed with an individually-based assignment on identifying current problems in tissue engineering approaches.

Other outcomes that this course contributes to at a high level but which are not used for program evaluation:

 (e) “An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.”

          (Execute the engineering design process: identify problem, identify design constraints on bioengineering problem, create solutions, and evaluate solutions with respect to these constraints.) In this course, students learn and then execute key steps of the engineering design process, including identification of the problem, exploration of the problem, and design of a solution.  Students will learn how to identify and conduct thorough research on current tissue engineering problems, and will ultimately work in teams to propose solutions to those identified problems.  Student competency is demonstrated through homework assignments such as identifying current problems in tissue engineering approaches and the final group project in which students work in teams to identify, research, and propose solutions to solve current tissue engineering challenges.

 Relationship of course to program educational objectives:

 The goal of our B.S. BIOEN program is to prepare our graduates for industry, graduate programs, and medicine.  In this senior elective bioengineering course, students are introduced to the wide variety of tissue engineering disciplines and are presented with a number of possible tissue engineering-related career and post-undergraduate education paths.  Students are introduced to fundamental concepts in tissue engineering which are also important to employers, including regulatory fundamentals, clinical trials, and effective scientific communication.  This course presents the wide variety of ethical issues that can occur in biomedical sciences and engineering, emphasizes the importance of being a responsible researcher, and provides students with a systematic analysis tool to deal with the ethical problems that they may encounter in the future.  They are exposed to service activities and professional organizations through class announcements.  The final month of this course involves a group project in which students can gain practice in leadership and teamwork as they design a solution to a real-world health problem.  Thus, BIOEN 498 contributes to providing students with the tools necessary to reach the following program educational objectives 2-5 years after graduation:

  1. Earn advanced degrees and/or obtain employment in bioengineering-related fields, such as medicine, device development, or biotechnology.
  2. Advance their careers by obtaining appropriate educational and professional qualifications.
  3. Serve their profession and community.
  4. Contribute to responsible development of new technical knowledge.
  5. Take leadership roles in addressing domestic or global bioengineering-related issues.

Course Grading:

  • Middle Term Exam: 30% (Will test knowledge learned through lectures, homework, and literature discussions.)
  • Homework/Quiz: 20% (Homework includes weekly literature reviews as well as several quantitative assignments from the textbook.  Quiz will address a variety of histology tissue samples.)
  • Group Written Proposal: 20% (Instead of a final exam, this course will require students to participate in a group NIH grant proposal.  More information about project can be found under the group project section of the course website.)
  • Group Oral Presentation: 10% (Part of the final group project in which students will present the aspects include in the written proposal to the class.)
  • Participation: 10% (Participation is heavily encouraged and encompasses class attendance as well as participation in weekly literature discussion.)
  • Total: 100%
Week Lecture Topics
1 Principles of tissue engineering
2 Cell-matrix and cell-cell interactions
3 Biomaterials in tissue engineering
4 Cell and tissue characterization
5 Stem cells (Quiz: Friday, October 26th)
6 Tissue microfabrication
7 Musculoskeletal tissue engineering (Midterm: Wednesday, November 7th)
8 Cardiovascular tissue engineering
9 Neural tissue engineering
10 Clinical applications

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