University of Pittsburgh
June 18, 2014

Pitt Camp to Inspire Future Tissue Engineers

Weeklong, hands-on forays into the world of bioscaffolds and stem cells

Joe Miksch


Cell: 412-997-0314

PITTSBURGH—Ah, summer for the school-aged. Lounging about at the pool, hanging around with friends, maybe a job selling ice cream. Lazy, hazy days.

Or not.

MaybeSteven Abramowitch (middle) demonstrates the function of knee ligaments to camp participants using a chicken leg. it’s time to learn how to use bioscaffolding to repair an injured pig heart or a 3-D printer and stem cells to regenerate organs. For those who enroll in Pitt’s Tissue Engineering Summer Camp, hands-on, fast-paced bioengineering education is the cool thing during the hot days.

“We try to make it as fun as possible for the students to show them that science is not boring,” says Steven Abramowitch, assistant professor of bioengineering in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. The program, in its eighth year, is presented by the Department of Bioengineering within Pitt’s Swanson School. “Students love the hands-on stuff,” Abramowitch continues. “We try to keep them busy from the minute they get here to the minute they leave with hands-on activities.”

Employing Pitt undergraduates as instructors, Abramowitch adds, is another way to communicate the excitement of studying science to the up-and-coming cohort.

“WeEngineering intern Caitlyn McCann (right) assists student Bianca Blackwell with a pipette. didn’t want to make this into the typical experience where someone stands in front of them, lectures, gives a brief demonstration, and says, ‘Now you do it,’” he says. “The undergraduates sit with the students at their tables. Having someone teaching who is near their age is a bonus. Undergrads can tell them what it’s like to be in college and why they chose bioengineering. They can be teachers and mentors at the same time.”

The Tissue Engineering Summer Camp is offered for middle school and high school students. The middle school camp will run July 14-18. Two sections of the high school camp will take place July 21-25 and July 28-Aug. 1. The camp will be held at Pitt’s Center for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 300 Technology Dr., South Oakland.

Registration is $300, which covers experimental materials, meals, and prizes. For more information, or to register, contact program manager Alicia Kemp at 412-624-7279 or via email at Further information can be found on the camp website.