NSF Engineering Research Center for Advanced Technologies for the Preservation of Biological Systems (ATP-Bio)

Award Amount
$26,000,000
Award number
Project dates
09/01/20 to 08/25/25

Principal Investigator(s)

John Bischof, PhD (University of Minnesota), ATP-Bio Director
Mehmet Toner, PhD (Massachusetts General Hospital), ATP-Bio Deputy Director 
Gillian Roehrig, PhD (University of Minnesota)
Guillermo Aguilar, PhD (University of California Riverside)
Kevin Healy, PhD (University of California Berkeley)

Ethics and Public Policy Panel (EP3)

Susan M. Wolf, JD (University of Minnesota), Lead, Ethics & Public Policy Pillar
Timothy Pruett, MD (University of Minnesota), Co-Lead, Ethics & Public Policy Pillar
All Ethics and Public Policy Panel (EP3) members

Center description

The ERC for Advanced Technologies for the Preservation of Biological Systems (ATP-Bio) aims to stop biological time and radically extend the ability to bank and transport cells, aquatic embryos, tissue, skin, whole organs, microphysiological systems (organs-on-a-chip), and even whole organisms through a team approach to build advanced biopreservation technologies. In order to build a more robust and diverse STEM workforce, especially in the growing number of fields needing biopreservation technologies, ATP-Bio also aims for equitable STEM education across all components of the Center. The integration of Engineering and Workforce Development (EWD) and Diversity and Culture of Inclusion (DCI) across all components of ATP-Bio is aimed at creating a more diverse STEM workforce that understands team science, especially for the growing number of fields needing biopreservation technologies. ATP-Bio will also include sustained and focused analyses of Ethics and Public Policy (EPP) issues so that the Center’s technology will be legally and ethically translated for public benefit.

Together with a large and active group of industrial partners, ATP-Bio aims to produce social benefit through off-the-shelf biopreservation technologies for cell therapies, tissue and organ transplantation, pharmacological research, aquaculture, biodiversity efforts, and many other fields. ATP-Bio will accomplish its goals by engineering technologies for biological systems before cooling, during cooling and stasis at subzero temperatures, and during rewarming to normal biological temperatures. At each stage, ATP-Bio convergent science teams will aim to eliminate or control ice formation, mitigate the toxicity of cryopreservation agents, and eliminate thermal and mechanical stress.

Ethical & Public Policy (EPP) | Ethics and Public Policy Panel (EP3)

The Ethical & Public Policy (EPP) component of this Center will work with Center researchers and an Ethics and Public Policy Panel (EP3) comprised of multidisciplinary national experts in ethics and policy. They will build an integrated and interdisciplinary program of ethics and policy analysis to achieve the following.

1. To advance ethics in research by augmenting standard review by IRB, IACUC, and other ethics bodies; identifying and analyzing ethical issues raised by ATP-Bio research; and providing a forum for investigators and trainees to raise questions of research ethics.

2. To guide ethical development and deployment of breakthrough technologies by conducting embedded ethics analysis in close collaboration with engineering teams; develop plausible use cases for ATP-Bio technologies to ground ethics analysis, responsible innovation, and anticipatory governance; guide ethical technology development and deployment; and publish ethics and policy analyses focused on ATP-Bio breakthrough technologies.

3. To collaborate on training investigators, students, and postdocs in ethics; create an ATP-Bio online portal of ethics and policy resources ; sponsor events featuring ethics and policy experts, with in-person, webcast, and video options; collaborate on developing trainings and courses; and offer trainees opportunities to collaborate with the EPP team on societal issues.

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