Prof. Milica Radisic receives Killam Fellowship

Professor Milica Radisic (IBBME, ChemE) is among the recipients of this year’s Killam Research Fellowships. (Photo: Nicholas Iwanyshyn)

Story by Tyler Irving, U of T Engineering News

Professor Milica Radisic (IBBME, ChemE) is among the recipients of this year’s Killam Research Fellowships.

“It is a great honour to receive this fellowship, and to be in the company of so many wonderful researchers from across Canada,” says Radisic. “My team will use this support to continue our innovative approaches to drug development and tissue repair, and to address medical challenges that currently have no solution.”

Awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Killam Research Fellowships support outstanding scholars as they carry out their groundbreaking projects in a wide range of fields. Radisic is joined by her fellow U of T professor, Joseph Heath (Philosophy) in receiving this award.

The Killam Research Fellowships are awarded at the same as the Killam Prizes which celebrate working scientists, writers, doctors and researchers who have dedicated their careers to solving challenges in our daily lives. University Professor Ted Sargent (ECE) and University Professor Barbara Sherwood Lollar (Earth Sciences) are among this year’s recipients.

Professor Radisic holds the Canada Research Chair in Functional Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering. She has made transformational advances in tissue engineering which have resulted in new methods for growing human tissue in the lab.

Radisic’s team was among the first in the world to use electrical impulses and specially designed bioreactors to guide heart cells to assemble into structure that actually beat independently of a body. These devices include the Biowire, the AngioChip and the BioWire II. The team also designed an injectable tissue patch that could be used to repair hearts, livers or other organs damaged by disease or injury.

These technologies are the basis of two spinoff companies, including TARA Biosystems and Quthero. Radisic is also developing the next generation of entrepreneurs in biomedical engineering through the training program in organ-on-a-chip engineering and entrepreneurship, funded by an NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grant.

Radisic holds the position of Associate Chair, Research for the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, where she works to strengthen U of T Engineering’s global network of research collaborations with industry, academia and government.

Among the previous research awards earned by Radisic are the Steacie Prize and the Steacie Fellowship. She received the 2019 Research and Development Medal from the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) and Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) and the 2018 YWCA Toronto Woman of Distinction award. She serves on the board of OSPE, and has leveraged leadership roles in the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Society to advance and support women in her field. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

“Congratulations to Professor Radisic on this important fellowship,” said Chris Yip, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “Her research and training programs are driving solutions for critical health challenges around the world, as well as creating the talent to bring them from the lab to the marketplace.”