PRESS RELEASE from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers

Making Metabolically Active Brown Fat from White Fat-Derived Stem Cells

New Rochelle, NY, March 3, 2017—Researchers have demonstrated the potential to engineer brown adipose tissue, which has therapeutic promise to treat metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, from white adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs). The study describes a method to produce brown fat tissue, which exists in only small amounts in adults, and is published in Tissue Engineering, Part A, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Tissue Engineering website until April 3, 2017.

Jennifer Elisseeff, Jessica Yang, and coauthors from Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (Baltimore, MD), and Ecole Polytechnique (Palaiseau, France) used a “browning” process to trigger the transition of mature adipocytes generated from white ASCs into brown adipocytes. The brown adipocytes exhibited the increased metabolic activity characteristic of brown fat tissue. The researchers report their method and results in the article entitled “Metabolically Active Three-Dimensional Brown Adipose Tissue Engineered from White Adipose-Derived Stem Cells.”

“Scientists are discovering novel ways to engineer the adipose system to leverage its ‘stemness’ and now, its metabolic phenotype. These two approaches will provide substantial opportunities in the treatment of disease,” says Tissue Engineering Co-Editor-in-Chief Peter C. Johnson, MD, Principal, MedSurgPI, LLC and President and CEO, Scintellix, LLC, Raleigh, NC.

Developing a pro-regenerative biomaterial scaffold microenvironment requires T helper 2 cells

Kaitlyn Sadtler, PhD – Published in Science

Engineering a healing immune response

Infections, surgeries, and trauma can all cause major tissue damage. Biomaterial scaffolds, which help to guide regenerating tissue, are an exciting emerging therapeutic strategy to promote tissue repair. Sadtler et al. tested how biomaterial scaffolds interact with the immune system in damaged tissue to promote repair (see the Perspective by Badylak). Scaffolds derived from cardiac muscle and bone extracellular matrix components trigger a tissue-reparative T cell immune response in mice with injured muscles.

Science, this issue p. 366; see also p. 298


Dr. Jennifer Elisseeff, appointed the Morton Goldberg Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute.

August, 2016 – Acceptance of the Morton Goldberg, MD Professorship in Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University.

“Bench to Bedside: Moving Science Fiction into Scientific Discovery”


Congratulations to Jake Simson who recently graduated and received his PhD from The Johns Hopkins University. He will be leaving Dr. Elisseeff’s lab mid June to pursue his career.

Best wishes to Tara Deans who has been a Postdoc here in the Elisseeff Lab over the past several years. She will be leaving the Elisseeff Lab at the end of May.

We wish Jake and Tara much success!

President’s Circle of the National Academies

In May 2012 Dr. Elisseeff attended the President’s Circle at the National Academy in DC, a stimulating event with speakers discussing topics ranging from energy, nuclear, design, and STEM education.

Jay Walker entertains during a small group discussion. Photo courtesy Christopher Michel.

Promotion Lecture and Reception

Reminiscing about the past 15 years of research and thanks to students, colleagues, mentors, and collaborators.  Watch the video at:

2011 Provosts Lecture Series: Jennifer H. Elisseeff, Phd at Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Jennifer Elisseeff, Associate Professor, Jules Stein Chair in Ophthalmology Wilmer Eye Institute, Director of Translational Tissue Engineering Center, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Department of Materials Science and Engineering will discuss the materials in Medicine: From Tools to Translational Tissue Engineering from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm on November 21 in Feinstone Hall, E2030 (BSPH). Q & A and reception immediately following. RSVP:ProvostRSVP@jhu.eduThe Provosts Lecture Series, launched in 2010 to spread the wealth of academic excellence at Johns Hopkins among its campuses. The theme of this years lecture series will be innovation, highlighting the unique role of research universities in fostering innovative thinking and creative solutions to some of the worlds greatest challenges.
Watch the lecture:

New composite material may restore damaged soft tissue

Step 1

Potential uses include facial reconstruction for soldiers’ blast injuries

Biomedical engineers at Johns Hopkins have developed a new liquid material that in early experiments in rats and humans shows promise inrestoring damaged soft tissue relatively safely and durably. The material, a composite of biological and synthetic molecules, is injected under the skin, then “set” using light to form a more solid structure, like using cold to set gelatin in a mold. The researchers say the product one day could be used to reconstruct soldiers’ faces marred by blast injuries.

The Johns Hopkins researchers caution that the material, described in a report in the July 27 issue of Science Translational Medicine, is “promising,” but not yet ready for widespread clinical use.

Implanted biological materials can mimic the texture of soft tissue, but are usually broken down by the body too fast, while synthetic materials tend to be more permanent but can be rejected by the immune system and typically don’t meld well with surrounding natural tissue,” says Jennifer Elisseeff, Ph.D., Jules Stein Professor of Ophthalmology and director of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Our composite material has the best of both worlds, with the biological component enhancing compatibility with the body and the synthetic component contributing to durability.”

The researchers created their composite material from hyaluronic acid (HA), a natural component in skin of young people that confers elasticity, and polyethylene glycol (PEG), a synthetic molecule used successfully as surgical glue in operations and known not to cause severe immune reactions. [Read more…]

Interview with Jennifer Elisseeff

Jennifer Elisseeff, the director of the new Translational Tissue Engineering Center, is a biomedical engineer who holds an endowed chair in the Department of Ophthalmology, where she is helping to develop an artificial cornea. Tissue engineering, she says, is taking place at the juncture of several scientific disciplines.

What’s been the history of tissue engineering—how far have labs and companies gotten in producing therapeutic applications?

ELISSEEFF: In the early 1990s, there was a lot of growth. There was talk of making an ear, a heart in a dish. But it fizzled. A lot of companies went under. [Read more…]

Elisseeff lab move

Our lab moved to the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Building of the Wilmer Eye Institute! We look forward to seeing you at our new location. [Read more…]