"Living Ink" Bioprinter Could Revolutionize Transplant Medicine

Friday, May 22, 2015
A bioprinter creating a one-third replica of a human nose using organic material

The laboratory of a University of Minnesota researcher has been selected as one of 20 worldwide to receive one of the first bioprinters. In today's Star Tribune, Prof. Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari is interviewed about the machine, which researchers hope will solve a major problem in transplant medicine: a lack of healthy, compatible organs for patients who need them. The article notes, "At labs across the country, researchers have used bioprinters like hers to produce transplantable ears, bone and muscle."

Stem Cell "Wild West" Raises Regulatory, Ethical Questions

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Stem cell

An article in the New York Times describes a worrying trend: for-profit stem cell clinics that harvest bone marrow and fat, then inject or infuse them back into patients to treat conditions as various as asthma, Parkinson's disease and aging. While stem cells are known for their powerful regenerative qualities and therapeutic flexibility, these procedures have not been tested through standard research protocols or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Nevertheless, stem cell clinics require patients to sign extensive waivers and represent a "mushrooming business [that's] almost wholly unregulated." Prof. Leigh Turner of the University of Minnesota's Center for Bioethics calls this approach "unauthorized, for-profit human experimentation" and has asked the FDA to investigate. 

Avian Flu: "We're in Totally Uncharted Territory"

Monday, May 18, 2015
USDA poultry researcher with chicken

The current outbreak of avian flu -- the largest in US history -- has affected more than 30 million poultry so far. An article in Science quotes Michael Osterholm, director of Consortium member center CIDRAP (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy), about the rapidly evolving situation. The H5N2 strain of the virus is spreading in an "unprecedented" way, challenging received wisdom and thwarting efforts to contain the outbreak. Read the entire Science article here

Infant Antibiotic Use Linked to Adult Diseases

Friday, May 15, 2015
E coli bacteria

A new study led by researchers at the University of Minnesota has found a three-way link among antibiotic use in infants, changes in the gut bacteria, and disease later in life. The imbalances in gut microbes have been tied to infectious diseases, allergies and other autoimmune disorders, and even obesity, later in life. The study was led by Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology program graduate student fellow Pajau Vangay, who works in the laboratory of Dan Knights, the study's senior author. Dr. Knights is also on the faculty of Consortium member center the Biotechnology Institute. The findings of the study were published in Cell Host & Microbe

BioTechnology Institute Research Sparks New Water Purification Company

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Drop of water

A startup based on research by researchers at the University of Minnesota's BioTechnology Institute, a Consortium member center, has landed its first research and development contract from a multibillion-dollar global company headquartered in Europe. Scientific discoveries by researchers Alptekin Aksan, PhD and Larry Wackett, PhD led to the development of a process that uses small, sponge-like silica beads to purify water contaminated by chemicals from industrial processes and agricultural runoff, naturally breaking these compounds down into environmentally harmless byproducts. The R&D funds will allow the company, Minnepura, to develop and launch its first product based on the U of M-patented silica bead technology.


Save the Dates! Announcing our 2015-16 Lectures

To receive our event updates and registration notifications, please sign up here.

Lecture Series on Microbiome Research & Microbiota Therapeutics

  • Prof. Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, PhD

New York University School of Medicine, Human Microbiome Program

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, 11:30-1

Best Buy Theater, 4th floor, Northrop


  • Dr. Stacy A. Kahn, MD

University of Chicago School of Medicine, Comer Children’s Hospital

Tuesday, March 8, 2016, 11:30-1

Mississippi Room, Coffman Union


  • Prof. Diane Hoffmann, JD

Director, Law and Health Care Program, University of Maryland Law School

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 11:30-1

Mississippi Room, Coffman Union

Co-sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s BioTechnology Institute and Microbiota Therapeutics Program

Deinard Memorial Lecture on Law & Medicine: Health Care Disparities

  • Prof. Sidney Watson, JD

St. Louis University School of Law

Thursday, April 14, 2016, 11:30-1

Coffman Memorial Union Theater

Co-sponsored by the University of Minnesota's Joint Degree Program in Law, Science & Technology andCenter for Bioethics. Support for the series comes from the Deinard family and the law firm of Stinson Leonard Street.

Consortium Updates

Videos of 2014-15 Consortium events now available

We're pleased to announce that videos of the following events are now available online:


Lecture Series on Genomics and Informatics


Annual Conference: Should We Offer Genomic Results to a Research Participant’s Family, Including After Death?