Curiosity Expert: Anthony Atala, M.D.

Director, Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Anthony Atala, M.D.
Courtesy of Anthony Atala, M.D.

Anthony Atala, M.D., is the Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and the W.H. Boyce Professor and Chair of the Department of Urology at Wake Forest University. Dr. Atala is a practicing surgeon and a researcher in the area of regenerative medicine. His current work focuses on growing new human cells, tissues and organs.

Dr. Atala works with several journals and serves in various roles, including Editor-in-Chief of Stem Cells-Translational Medicine, Current Stem Cell Research and Therapy, and Therapeutic Advances in Urology; as Associate Editor of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, The Journal of Rejuvenation Research, Nanotechnology in Engineering and Medicine, Gene Therapy and Regulation, and Current Reviews in Urology; as Executive Board Member or Section Editor of the journal Tissue Engineering and International Journal of Artificial Organs, and as Editorial Board member of Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy, Biomedical Materials, International Journal of Stem Cells, Stem Cell Review Letters, Tissue Science and Engineering, Journal of Surgical Radiology, the Journal of Urology, Recent Patents on Regenerative Medicine, BioMed Central-Urology, Urology, Current Opinion in Urology, and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Atala is a recipient of many awards, including the U.S. Congress funded Christopher Columbus Foundation Award, bestowed on a living American who is currently working on a discovery that will significantly affect society, the Samuel D. Gross Prize, awarded every 5 years to a national leading surgical researcher by the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery, the Barringer Medal from the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons, and the Gold Cystoscope award from the American Urological Association for advances in the field. Dr. Atala was named by Scientific American as a "Medical Treatments Leader of the Year" for his contributions to the fields of cell, tissue and organ regeneration. Dr. Atala's work was listed as Time magazine's top 10 medical breakthroughs of the year, and as Discover magazine's Number 1 Top Science Story of the Year in the field of medicine in 2007. A Time magazine poll ranked Dr. Atala as the 56th most influential person of the year in 2007. In 2009 Dr. Atala was featured in U.S. News & World Report as one of 14 Pioneers of Medical Progress in the 21st Century, and his work in 2010 was listed by Smithsonian magazine as one of 40 things to know about the next 40 years.

Dr. Atala has led or served on several national professional and government committees, including the National Institutes of Health working group on Cells and Developmental Biology, the National Institutes of Health Bioengineering Consortium, and the National Cancer Institute's Advisory Board. He is currently a National Institutes of Health "Quantum Grant" awardee. Dr. Atala heads a team of over 250 physicians and researchers. Ten applications of technologies developed in Dr. Atala's laboratory have been used clinically. He is the editor of twelve books, including Principles of Regenerative Medicine, Foundations of Regenerative Medicine, Methods of Tissue Engineering, and Minimally Invasive Urology. He has published more than 300 journal articles and has applied for or received over 200 national and international patents.