Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD


Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic holds the title of University Professor, Columbia University’s highest rank reserved for a small number of faculty who have made important contributions to their field of study, and serve the university as a whole. She is a leading expert in engineering of human tissues for regenerative medicine and modeling of disease. With over 36,000 citations and h=109, she is one of the most highly cited individuals of all times, in all disciplines. With her students, she founded four biotech companies, all based in New York City. Among her many distinctions, she is a member of the Academia Europaea, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine, and National Academy of Inventors.

Academic Appointments

  • Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Medical Sciences (in Medicine)

Administrative Titles

  • University Professor

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • PhD, Chemical Engineering, University of Belgrade,Yugoslavia
  • Fellowship: 1987 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Honors & Awards

2017: Robert A. Pritzker Award for 2017, Biomedical Engineering Society

2017: NIBIB National Advisory Council speaker, NIH, January 24, 2017.

2017: Doctorate in Science Honoris Causa, University of Novi Sad, Serbia

2015-2020: Bioengineering Peer Committee, National Academy of Engineering

2016-2017: Chair, College of Fellows, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIBME)

2016: Board of Directors, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIBME)

2016: Award of the Materials Research Society for Lasting and Outstanding Contribution to Material Science and Engineering

2014: National Academy of Inventors

2014: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

2014: National Academy of Medicine

2014: Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2014

2013-2019: National Academy of Engineering, Executive Committee, Section for Bioengineering

2013-2016: National Academy of Engineering, Fritz J and Dolores H Russ Prize Committee

2013: Founding Class, International Fellows of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

2012: National Academy of Engineering

2012: Academia Europea, Cell and Development Biology section

2012: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

2012: Serbian National Academy of Engineering

2012: Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)

2010: Clemson award of the Society of Biomaterials “for significant contributions to the literature on the science or technology of biomaterials”

2009-2019: New York Academy of Sciences

2008: Hall of Fame, Women in Technology International (one of 5 leaders in science and technology in 2008)

2008-2019: US Section Head, Musculoskeletal Repair & Regeneration Section, Faculty 1000 of Medicine

2007: Director’s lecture, NIH, October 17, 2007; the first woman engineer to receive this distinction

2006: NASA Award for a patent “BMP-2, BMP-12, and BMP-13 Modulate in Vitro Development of Engineered Cartilage”

2005: The Association of Orthopedic Research, Switzerland; team award “for the best science in orthopaedics” (with Meinel, Ziechner. Fajardo, and Kaplan)

2004: Outstanding Performance Medal, World Congress of in vitro Biology.

2004: Space Act Award, NASA, for patent describing bioengineering of anterior cruciate ligaments (US patent 6,287,340, issued September 11, 2001)

2004-2019: Faculty of 1000 Medicine, Regenerative Medicine Section

2004: Space Act Award, NASA, for patent describing gene transfer of a growth factor to enhance tissue engineering of cartilage

2000-2019: American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), Fellow

1997: Medal of recognition, Centennial of the Serbian Chemical Society, Belgrade YU

1996 – 1997: Space study of cartilage tissue engineering aboard “Mir”, in collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Center (co-lead of the 13-member team, with LE Freed); the longest cell experiment ever conducted in space; study reported in PNAS)

1987: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Biomass Committee

1980: City of Belgrade award for the best PhD thesis in engineering

1975: Belgrade Chamber of Commerce award for the best MS thesis in engineering



UG3 EB025765 (Vunjak-Novakovic) 9/1/17-6/30/22

Multi-tissue platform for modeling systemic pathologies

2R01 DE016525 (Vunjak-Novakovic) 4/1/13 – 3/31/18

Craniofacial Tissue Engineering

2R01 HL076485-07 (Vunjak-Novakovic) 4/17/13 – 4/01/18

Vascularized cardiac muscle

R01 HL120046-01 (Vunjak-Novakovic and Snoeck MPI) 8/7/13 – 5/31/18 =

Bioengineering a chimeric human lung

U01HL134760 (Snoeck and Vunjak-Novakovic MPI) 9/20/16-9/19/23

Modeling, pathogenesis and treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

U01HL134760-S3 (Snoeck and Vunjak-Novakovic MPI) 10/1/17-9/30/18

Modeling, pathogenesis and treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

UH3 EB17103 (Vunjak-Novakovic) 7/1/14-12/31/17

Integrated heart-liver-vascular systems for drug testing in human health and disease

P41 EB002520 (Kaplan PG; role:Associated PD) 08/1/14 – 07/31/19

Tissue Engineering Resource Center – Bioreactor Core

NYSTEM IIRP (Vunjak-Novakovic) 7/1/17-6/30/20

Optogenetic regulation of cardiac arrhythmia using patient-derived IPS cell models

C030291 NYSTEM (Vunjak-Novakovic) 07/01/16 – 06/30/21

Columbia training program in stem cell research

3UH3EB017103-05S2 (Vunjak-Novakovic) 7/1/16-12/31//17

Integrated cardiac and bone tissue chip for rare disease research

3UH3EB017103-05S1 (Vunjak-Novakovic) 7/1/16-12/31/17

Tissue chip for integrating testis as a missing organ

3UH3EB017103-04S2 7/1/15-12/31/17

Integrated heart-liver-vascular systems for drug testing in human health and disease

NSF16478 Engineering Resource Center (Bishop) 9/1/17 – 7/31/22

Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Directed Multiscale

Assembly of Cellular Metamaterials with Nanoscale Precision: CELL-MET

Role: Subcontract PI

Coulter Foundation (Vunjak-Novakovic) 8/1/14 – 5/31/15

A stem cell therapy to reduce morbidity and mortality from graft-vs-host-disease in bone marrow transplant patients

R41HL129754 (Spotnitz)

Advanced cannula development for coronary sinus access 9/1/17-8/31/18

Role: Collaborator

DOD_W81XWH (Fine)

Cardiomyocyte chirality defects in congenital heart disease 05/01/17 – 10/30/18

Role: Co-I

Lisa and Mark Schwartz Program to Reverse Heart Failure 1/1/13 – 12/31/17

(Vunjak-Novakovic: Scientific Director)

T32 HL120826 (Marks) 1/1/14 – 12/31/18

Training in cardiovascular translational research.

Role: mentor

T32 (Hardy) 1/1/2011 – 12/31/16

Cardiology-Surgery training grant

Role: mentor

T32 (Ateshian) 1/1/2012 – 12/31/17

Multidisciplinary Engineering Training in Musculoskeletal Research

Role: mentor

T32 (Bickers) 1/1/2012 – 12/31/17

Genetic Mechanism in Skin Disease Training Grant

Role: mentor

T32 (Shelanski) 1/1/2012 – 12/31/17

Medical Scientist Training Program

Role: mentor

Selected Publications

With over 36,000 citations and h=109, Dr Vunjak-Novakovic is one of the most cited individuals of all tims, in all disciplines.

The complete list of publiacations is avaliable on the link pasted below.