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Health Sciences Trailblazers


Anthony Atala, MD, FACS

This physician-bioengineer helped pioneer the creation of lab-made human tissue. A pediatric urologist and surgeon, Dr. Atala developed the first lab-grown organ, a bladder, implanted in a person. He also created the first 3D “bioprinters” that make tissue and organs. Today, Dr. Atala is developing 3D-printing technology to create human tissue on demand. He is founding director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which has developed 15 clinically used tissue applications—from muscle to urethra, cartilage to reproductive tissues—and is working on 40 other tissues and organs.

Dr. Atala chairs the Department of Urology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. A Lebanese-American, he was born in Lima, Peru.