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February 12, 2018

Spinach to hearts: Leafy vegetable inspires new way to generate heart tissue

NSF graduate student training promotes innovator’s mindset to solve critical issues in medicine

Most people see a vegetable when they see a spinach leaf, but in a lab at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, they see the potential to create heart tissue. Ph.D. students at the lab are training to be leaders in bioengineering, particularly biofabrication, in a unique research setting that promotes an innovator’s mindset. They’re thinking outside the box to develop practical, commercially viable technologies that fulfill critical unmet needs.

The opportunity was funded by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, which trained students in interdisciplinary research areas while providing them with the professional skills needed to move into a variety of career paths. The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program has picked up where IGERT left off, encouraging the development and implementation of bold, new and potentially transformative models for STEM graduate education training in high priority interdisciplinary research areas.

The research in this episode was supported by NSF grant #1144804, IGERT: Training Innovative Leaders in Biofabrication.

Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Kate Tobin, Science Nation Producer

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.