Texas A&M System, TEES to partner in new Manufacturing USA institute

May 30, 2017
| By: Aubrey Bloom

The Texas A&M University System and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station are part of a new public-private Manufacturing USA initiative, the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI).  Headquartered in Manchester, New Hampshire, ARMI is the 12th Manufacturing USA institute.  It brings together a consortium of nearly 100 partner organizations from industry, government, academia and the non-profit sector to develop next-generation manufacturing processes and technologies for cells, tissues and organs.  

Approximately $80 million from the federal government will be combined with more than $200 million in cost share to support the development of tissue and organ manufacturing capabilities. As part of continuing efforts to help revitalize American manufacturing and incentivize companies to invest in new technology development in the United States, ARMI will lead the Advanced Tissue Biofabrication (ATB) Manufacturing USA Institute on behalf of the Department of Defense.

“The Texas A&M University System has made significant investment into biomanufacturing and is well positioned to make high-impact contributions in the field,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “I look forward to the partnership opportunities our researchers will have through the ARMI.”

Under the umbrella of Manufacturing USA, a public-private network that invests in the development of world-leading manufacturing technologies, ARMI will work to integrate and organize the fragmented collection of industry practices and domestic capabilities in tissue biofabrication technology in order to better position the U.S. relative to global competition. ARMI will also focus on accelerating regenerative tissue research and creating state-of-the-art manufacturing innovations in biomaterial and cell processing for critical Department of Defense and civilian needs. 

“We need to develop 21st century tools for engineered tissue manufacturing that will allow these innovations to be widely available – similar to how a 15th century tool (the printing press) allowed knowledge to spread widely during the Renaissance,” said inventor Dean Kamen, ARMI’s chairman.

Forty-seven industrial partners, 26 academic and academically affiliated partners, and 14 government and nonprofit partners support ARMI’s efforts. The ARMI partnership continues to grow.

“This aligns perfectly with our new Engineering Medicine (EnMed) program focused on educating physician engineers who design and commercialize medical devices,” said Dr. M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of Texas A&M Engineering. “Along with a strong core of researchers working in engineered tissues and manufacturing technologies, we look forward to further engagement with the ARMI partner universities and industry members, and will also utilize this partnership to prepare a regional workforce with the skills needed to support reliable and high volume production of engineered tissues and organs in the future.”

Dr. Balakrishna Haridas, Director of the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing (NCTM) and Professor of Practice in Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M, serves as the PI/Director for the ARMI operations at Texas A&M and represented Texas A&M Engineering at the ARMI kickoff meeting in Manchester, New Hampshire. 

Co-PI’s Dr. Roland Kaunas, Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Dr. Carl Gregory, Associate Professor at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, along with a large team of faculty from the departments of biomedical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and industrial engineering along with the Texas A&M Health Science Center and Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences will bring a unique interdisciplinary approach to regenerative manufacturing systems development projects for the ARMI initiative.

Dr. Dimitris Lagoudas, Deputy Director of TEES and Senior Associate Dean for research in the college of engineering, and Dr. Jon Mogford, Vice Chancellor for Research continuously provided guidance and support throughout the effort and championed Texas A&M’s participation in this multi-university, industry, and government partnership.

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