The new year will bring excitement and new opportunities for the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation (TIBI). The long-awaited final construction of TIBI’s new 50,000 square foot facility in Woodland Hills is due for completion near the end of 2022, and employees will be moving in during the month of January 2023.
In addition to the ample space and unique design features of the new building, the facility will also house expansive laboratory work areas fully arrayed with scientific equipment, as well as accommodations for meetings, seminars, and conferences. This will allow for greater research capabilities and growth of the institute.
In 2022, there has been significant employee growth, with a one-and-a-half-fold increase in number from a year ago. This included the addition of new postdoctoral, affiliate and other researchers, as well as new faculty, visiting scholars, and technicians. In addition, one of the current postdoctoral researchers was promoted to a Terasaki fellow this year. Our current laboratory in West Los Angeles has been filled to capacity and humming with activity by all the TIBI researchers.
In addition to the expansion of TIBI’s faculty and academic staff, TIBI renewed their annual junior internship program during the summer of 2022. Eighteen enthusiastic and motivated (mostly college undergraduate) students worked with the TIBI researchers, who mentored the students and helped them build upon their interests and gain hands-on lab experience in biomedical engineering and/or related fields. The students were also able to learn more about conducting research and to learn about innovation development and entrepreneurship.
TIBI’s science team has been working on many projects and new technologies which are on the forefront of biomedical innovation and precision medicine. In addition to developing significantly enhanced methods for aneurysm treatments, wound healing, tendon repair, and hemorrhage control, TIBI scientists are also working on physiological models with organ-on-a-chip and revolutionary, high-throughput micro-organosphere (MOS) technologies to screen and personalize drugs for cancer treatments. They are also studying metabolic factors, genetic remodeling, and drug delivery therapies associated with tumor formation and are pushing the forefront of biosensing, with smart contact lenses that can be used in cancer diagnosis and in more effective treatments of dry eye and other optical diseases. As a result of the science team’s efforts this year, over 100 publications were produced.
TIBI is also excited that its first spinout company, Omeat, a company which produces cultivated meat, was launched this year. Omeat’s efforts are geared toward growing meat directly from animal cells, enabling the production of real meat in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly manner. The Omeat methods are now being used on a large scale to produce high-quality, cost-effective meat products, with the hope that they can be used to cultivate any meat species.
The TIBI marketing team has been promoting TIBI’s efforts, with projects in place to spotlight TIBI’s accomplishments and to add to their growing network. The team has been active in the press, sending eleven issues of its online newsletter in 2022 to almost 30,000 subscribers and posting press releases on TIBI’s most recent scientific discoveries and developments. In 2022, TIBI produced dozens of press releases, with many written up by various journalists and one that even prompted a radio show interview.
The team continues to produce a successful “Terasaki Talks” virtual series of scientific talks given by high-profile guest speakers on various topics in biomedical engineering and nanotechnology. The talks typically bring in 150-200 live viewers who have an opportunity to pose questions to the speaker after the presentation.
TIBI also continues to offer their “Fireside Chat” virtual series given by TIBI Director and CEO, Dr. Ali Khademhosseini. Dr. Khademhosseini has used this platform to deliver many helpful and relevant pieces of information and advice; this year he spotlighted the challenges of innovation and translation with his “Idea to Innovation” Fireside Chat episode, and the event played to a large and very interested audience.
In the coming year, TIBI looks forward to hosting its inaugural Terasaki Innovation Summit, which will be held on March 8-10, 2023, at the UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Center in Los Angeles.
The event will focus on the topics of improving technological and entrepreneurial translation of personalized medical treatments and on bringing biomedical innovations from the laboratory to the real world. It will feature key business leaders and experts in translation, innovation, venture investment, and IP, who will be discussing the future of biomedicine, building and financing spin-off companies, and what is needed to bring ideas from bench to bedside.
The event promises to be a one-of-a-kind gathering of some of the most prominent names in the field of biomedical engineering and translational innovation and will provide a wealth of information and opportunities for networking with others in the scientific community.
The Terasaki Institute for Biomedical concludes another busy and successful year and looks forward to what 2023 will bring.
We wish everyone a happy, healthy holiday season and a prosperous new year!