Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD

Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD, is the Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Sciences at Columbia University and Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University. She is the Director of the Stem Cell Imaging Core, Scientific Director of the Stem Cell Core, and Co-Director of the Craniofacial Regeneration Center at Columbia University, as well as the Associate Director of the NIH Tissue Engineering Resource Center, a partnership between Tufts University and Columbia University. Dr. Vunjak-Novakovic is the director of Columbia’s Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, where her research focus is engineering of human tissues for application in regenerative medicine, human stem cell research and study of disease. She is Founder and Scientific Advisor for epiBone, Tara Biosystems, and MatriTek. She has been a frequent advisor to government and industry, a study section chair and Distinguished Editor for NIH, a scientific advisor for the HHMI, chair of the Biomaterials & Biointerfaces study section, a member of the Biomedical Engineering Materials & Applications Initiative of the National Academies, a reviewer for 65 foundations and 173 science journals, and a member of numerous editorial boards and councils. She published 3 books, 55 book chapters, over 300 peer-reviewed articles (cited >17,000 times) and has 73 issued, licensed and pending patents. Dr. Vunjak-Novakovic is a fellow and Chair-Elect of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and a fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society. She has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Inventors, Academia Europaea, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Serbian Academy of Engineering, the New York Academy of Science, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2010, Dr. Vunjak-Novakovic received the Clemson Award from the Society for Biomaterials for significant contributions to the literature on the science or technology of biomaterials. She was the first female engineer to give the Director’s Lecture at the National Institute of Health in 2007, and was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame in 2008. Dr. Vunjak-Novakovic was named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers for 2014, and was awarded the BioAccelerate Prize of the New York City Investment Fund and the Outstanding Performance Medal from the World Congress of in vitro Biology. She has served as council for the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Society, and as US Section Head for Musculoskeletal Repair and Regeneration for the Faculty of 1000 Medicine Regenerative Medicine Section. Before arriving at Columbia, Dr. Vunjak-Novakovic was with the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Services and Technology. During this time, she served on a Space Life Sciences Council for NASA, advising on space experimentation, and as a scientific lead (for MIT) for the development of the cell culture system for the International Space Station. She serves as Scientific Director on the Board for the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and has received 4 NASA awards for bioengineering patents. Dr. Vunjak-Novakovic received her BS, MS, and PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Belgrade in Serbia, and was an MIT Fulbright Fellow from 1986-1987.

  • Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University
  • Professor, Department of Medical Sciences, Columbia University
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University
  • Director, Stem Cell Imaging Core & Scientific Director, Stem Cell Core, Columbia University
  • Co-Director, Craniofacial Regeneration Center, Columbia University
  • Associate Director, NIH Tissue Engineering Resource Center