The Tissue Engineering and Applied Biomaterials Laboratory develops functional biomaterials for regenerative medicine applications. Recent discoveries in the tissue-engineering field have shown that the microenvironment can influence stem cell self-renewal and differentiation, which has had a tremendous impact on identifying potential strategies for using these cells effectively in the body. This laboratory develops functional biomaterials that impart cues to stem cells, either already present within the body or implanted, to affect their behavior. These biological cues stimulate growth in bone and spinal cord tissue, for example. Our laboratory has pioneered the use of bioactive ceramics and composites for use in bone-tissue engineering. Novel bioinspired materials such as glycosaminoglycan (GAG) mimetics and piezoelectric materials also are being developed for bone, cartilage and neural applications. GAG mimetics combine with growth factors to simulate tissue growth and piezoelectric materials provide electrical stimulation to cells. Current funding is from federal, state and private agencies.