Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences
In her laboratory at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Vunjak-Novakovic creates new ways to engineer human tissues that could repair damaged organs, help scientists study development and disease, and provide faster methods for testing new drugs.
Her research has potential to develop new materials and techniques to grow bone grafts for facial reconstruction, create heart patches that could repair damage sustained after a heart attack, and improve the way lungs are recovered for transplantation, possibly expanding the pool of available donor lungs. The lab is also designing “organs on a chip”–miniature tissues and organs that mimic human physiology–to test new drugs and personalize patient treatment.
Founded in 1780 during the American Revolution, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences honors individuals who discover new knowledge or apply knowledge to solve societal problems. Members of the academy meet with other leaders to examine new ideas and address issues of importance to the nation and the world.
Vunjak-Novakovic has previously been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (2012) and the National Academy of Medicine (2014). She is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and Academia Europea. She earned her PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Belgrade, Serbia.
At Columbia, Vunjak-Novakovic was named University Professor, the university’s highest academic honor, in 2017, the first engineer to earn this distinction. She also is the Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, professor of medical sciences at Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and director of the Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.