Pathology Graduate Training Program
Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP) -
CATER

Cellular Approaches to Tissue Engineering and Regeneration (CATER)

One of the most significant challenges in regenerative medicine is developing the next generation of experts in each of the enabling disciplines to be trained cognizant of the cross-disciplinary challenges and approaches needed to solve tissue engineering problems. We have developed a cross-disciplinary pre-doctoral training program that gives engineers or life scientists a common grounding in the field. We have established the Cellular Approaches to Tissue Engineering and Regeneration (CATER) Program to provide a solid foundation upon which to build a productive independent career in cellular and tissue based therapy for human disease and injury. This goal is accomplished via a highly coordinated and mentored interdisciplinary training program with a combination of required and elective courses, research activities, and specialized training opportunities. The proposed Training Program incorporates faculty from multiple departments at the School of Medicine, the Bioengineering department, and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, to provide a unique educational and research experience at the leading edge of science with respect to cellular / tissue regeneration and engineering. This combination of training faculty research interests and coursework provides a better educational experience and more numerous training opportunities for the students than could be obtained within the individual university departments.

Mechanisms and Criteria for Selection of Trainees into CATER

Students entering the CATER program will generally be 2nd year graduate students and will receive funding for the next two years of study. All students must have maintained at least a 3.25 GPA during the 1st year of training in order to be eligible for CATER funding. There are two mechanisms by which students gain entry into the CATER Training Program. The first is via successful admission into the University of Pittsburgh Bioengineering department and completion of the 1st year course requirements, and the second is by admission into the CMP Program.

The procedure for recruitment and selection of CATER trainees will be as follows. In May of each year, the CATER Trainee Admissions and Evaluation Committee will invite from all Bioengineering and INTBP graduate students, as well as CATER training faculty nominations of qualified students using the standard nomination forms that include relevant academic information, a brief personal statement and research proposal by the student, and letters of reference. The committee will evaluate the candidates based on:

  • Research background and interests relevant to program goals
  • Letters of reference
  • GPA
  • Personal statement
  • Program affiliation

Student evaluation at the end of the first year will consist of a review of the coursework, participation in seminars and other training activities (preparation of manuscripts, presentation of data at conferences), written critique by the faculty mentor, and research topic.

Coursework

Additional courses required for all CMP students include a course on stem cell biology to introduce the concepts, use and ethical considerations of stem cells in future therapeutic or regenerative interventions; and a course on cell therapy which is designed to teach fundamentals of cell based therapy. Students are also required to take one of two courses that focus on angiogenesis as angiogenesis is clearly an important component of tissue engineering. A final required course entitled "Intro to Tissue Engineering" represents our penultimate tissue engineering course that builds upon our prior engineering and biological based courses to teach students the latest methodologies and technical challenges in tissue engineering. We believe that our combined bioengineering and biological based courses will provide an excellent and unique training experience and generate highly skilled research scientists in tissue engineering and regeneration.