Bioengineering Lungs w/ Dr. Joan Nichols

Dr. Joan Nichols's team at University of Texas Medical Branch has a mission - nobody's done it before, but they see no reason we shouldn't be trying to do it now: Bioengineering lungs from natural scaffolds. Joan's team recently completed a pilot study that successfully implanted bioengineered, lab-grown lungs into pigs, marking a huge milestone in the progression toward a future where transplant patients can receive organs specifically bioengineered and grown in a lab to be compatible with their bodies.

The Switch on Patreon:


UTMB Wonders-Could we grow lungs in a lab:

TedX Talk:

CBS innovation Nation: and


Science Translational Medicine:  


Current and past publications leading to the recent manuscript published in Science Translational Medicine:

1.      Nichols JE, S. LaFrancesca, JA Niles, SP Vega, LB Argueta, L. Frank, DC Christiani, R Pyles, B Hynes, R Zhang, A Miller, J Sakamoto, J Jessica Rhudy, G Hendricks, F Begarani,  X Liu, G Vargas, R Pal, I Patrikeev, L Woodson, A  Wacher,  M Grimaldo, D Weaver, R  Mlcak, J Cortiella The Next Step in the Production of Bioengineered Lungs for Clinical Application: Transplantation of Bioengineered Lung into a Large Animal Model. Science Translational Medicine, Accepted for publication June 2018.

2.      Fernandez-Moure JS, Van Eps JL, Rhudy JR, Cabrera J, Acharya GS, Tasciotti E, Sakamotos, Nichols JE. Porcine acellular lung matrix for wound healing and abdominal wall reconstruction: a pilot study. Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, 2016, vol7; p1-8.  

3.      Nichols JE, ,LaFrancesca S, Vega SP, Niles JA, Argueta LB, Riddle M, Sakamoto J, Vargas G, Pal R, Woodson L, Seanor D, Campbell G, Schnadig V, Rhudy J, Cortiella J New Life for Old Lungs “Whole Human Lung Bioengineering: Production and Assessment of a Bioengineered Pediatric Lung” Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine e-published, January, 2016.

4.      Nichols J.E., Niles JA, Vega, SP, Arguetsa LB, Eastaway A and Cortiella J Modeling the lung: Design and development of tissue engineered macro- and micro-physiologic lung models for research use. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2014 Sep;239(9):1135-69.

5.      Nichols JE, Niles JA, Vega SP, Cortiella J.Novel in vitro respiratory models to study lung development, physiology, pathology and toxicology.  Stem Cell Res Ther. 2013;4 Suppl 1:S7.. Epub 2013 Dec 20

6.      Melo E, Garreta E, Luque T, Cortiella J, Nichols J, Navajas D, Farré R. Effects of the Decellularization Method on the Local Stiffness of Acellular Lungs.Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2013 Nov 6.

7.      Nichols JE, Niles J, Riddle M, Vargas G, Schilagard T, Ma L, Edward K, Lafrancesca S, Sakamoto J, Vega S, Ogedegbe M, Mlcak R, Deyo D, Woodson L, McQuitty C, Lick S, Beckles D, Melo E, Cortiella J. Production and Assessment of Decellularized Pig and Human Lung Scaffolds.Tissue Eng Part A. 2013 May 2.

8.      Nichols JE, Cortiella J, Lee J, Niles JA, Cuddihy M, Wang S, Bielitzki J, Cantu A, Mlcak R, Valdivia E, Yancy R, McClure ML, Kotov NA.In vitro analog of human bone marrow from 3D scaffolds with biomimetic inverted colloidal crystal geometry. Biomaterials. 2009 Feb;30(6):1071-9.