UW Bioengineering assistant professor Ying Zheng has received an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award to recognize her work creating organ-specific microenvironments for regenerative medicine and therapeutic development. Dr. Zheng, whose award will support her research project “A microfluidic bone marrow niche for the study of hematopoiesis”, develops 3-D systems in vitro that display the complex architecture of bone marrow and function to generate blood cells. These systems may eventually allow for the preclinical testing of therapies to increase blood cell counts in diseases where they are low, and also have the potential to be scaled up to generate blood cells in sufficient quantities for transfusions.
The New Innovator Award, part of the NIH’S High Risk-High Reward program, stimulates highly innovative research and supports promising new investigators. The NIH High Risk-High Reward research program encourages scientists to pursue creative and innovative ideas about biomedical and behavioral research with the aim of addressing the fields’ major challenges. Dr. Zheng is one of 3 UW investigators to receive awards from this NIH program in 2013.