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Ioannis Yannas, Ph.D.

Department Mechanical & Biological Engineering
Assistant Professor of Mechanical & Biological Engineering

Room 3-332
Phone: (617) 253-4469


Ioannis V. Yannas was born in Athens, Greece where he completed his high school education at Athens College. He studied chemistry at Harvard College (A.B., 1957) and earned graduate degrees in chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (S.M., 1959) as well as in physical chemistry at Princeton University (Sc.M., 1965; Ph.D., 1966). Since July 1966, he has been on the faculty of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and currently teaches graduate courses on molecular interactions between tissues and biomaterials, the design of medical devices and the mechanical behavior of tissues.

Research Summary

His primary research activities in the last 30 years have focused on organ regeneration induced by analogs of extracellular matrices that have been synthesized with highly specific structure of the macromolecular network. In 1981 Dr. Yannas and his coworkers discovered that a biologically active scaffold, induces regeneration of the dermis, a tissue that does not spontaneously regenerate in the adult mammal. In further studies it was shown that the keratinocyte-seeded scaffold yielded simultaneous regeneration both of the dermis and the epidermis in animal models. This discovery was the first ever demonstration of induced regeneration of an organ in the adult mammal.

For his discovery of a "dermis regeneration template" useful in the treatment of burn patients, Dr. Yannas was elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, and elected Founding Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineers. He has also received awards for this discovery from the American Chemical Society, Society for Biomaterials (Founders Award), and the Society of Plastics Engineers. The dermis regeneration template, manufactured by Integra LifeSciences, was first approved by the FDA in 1996 and is currently used in clinics around the world to treat massively burned patients, patients undergoing plastic and reconstructive surgery of the skin, as well as patients with chronic skin wounds. Over 100,000 patients had been treated by 2006.

In 1986 Dr. Yannas and his coworkers discovered that a different analog of the extracellular matrix, later named nerve regeneration template, induced regeneration of functional peripheral nerve over unprecedented gap distances in a standardized animal model. In recognition for this development, Dr. Yannas received the Clemson Award of the Society for Biomaterials and was later also elected Fellow of the Society for Biomaterials.

In 2000, Dr. Yannas and coworkers induced total regeneration of the conjunctiva (the specialized tissue underneath the eyelid that facilitates eyelid movement and induces tearing.). Currently, Dr. Yannas and his coworkers are testing a new molecular mechanism by which organ regeneration is generally induced in adult mammals.

He is the author of the first book in the field, Tissue and Organ Regeneration in Adults, New York, Springer, 2001. He has also authored or co-authored over 200 original scientific articles, chapters in books and other publications, and has been granted, alone or with coinventors, over 15 patents in the field of organ regeneration and scaffold technology. In 2005 he edited the two-volume Regenerative Medicine (Springer: Heidelberg). He serves on the editorial board of Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Tissue Engineering, Materials in Medicine as well as Interface (U.K.).

Selected peer-reviewd publications (since 2001)

  1. Freyman TM, Yannas IV, Pek Y-S, Yokoo R, and Gibson LJ (2001). Micromechanics of fibroblast contraction of a collagen-GAG matrix. Exp Cell Res. 269:140-53.
  2. Spilker MH, Asano K, Yannas IV, Spector M (2001). Contraction of collagen-glycosaminoglycan matrices by peripheral nerve cells in vitro. Biomaterials. 22:1085-93.
  3. Freyman TM, Yannas IV, Yokoo R, Gibson LJ (2001). Fibroblast contraction of a collagen-GAG matrix. Biomaterials. 22:2883-91.
  4. Yannas, IV (2001). Tissue and Organ Regeneration in Adults. New York, Springer (book, 383 pp.).
  5. Freyman, TM, Yannas, IV, Gibson, LJ (2001). Cellular Materials as Porous Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering. Progr. Mater. Sci. 46:273-282.
  6. Spilker MH, Yannas IV, Kostyk SK, Norregaard TV, Hsu H-P, Spector M (2001). The Effects of Tubulation on Healing and Scar Formation After Transection of the Adult Rat Spinal Cord. Restor. Neurol. Neurosci. 18:23-38.
  7. Zaleskas JM, Kinner B, Freyman TM, Yannas IV, Gibson LJ, Spector M (2001). Growth Factor Regulation of Smooth Muscle Actin Expression and Contraction of Human Articular Chondrocytes and Meniscal Cells in a Collagen-GAG Matrix. Exp. Cell Res. 270:21-31.
  8. Freyman TM, Yannas IV, Yokoo R, and Gibson LJ (2002). Fibroblast contractile force is independent of the stiffness, which resists the contraction. Exp. Cell Res. 272:153-162.
  9. Samuel RE, Lee CR, Ghivizzani S, Evans CH, Yannas IV, Olsen BR, and Spector M (2002). Delivery of Plasmid DNA to Articular Chondrocytes via Novel Collagen-Glycosaminoglycan Matrices. Hum Gene Ther. 13:791-802.
  10. Sethi KK, IV Yannas, Mudera V, Eastwood M, McFarland C, and Brown RA (2002). Evidence for sequential utilization of fibronectin, vitronectin, and collagen during fibroblast-mediated collagen contraction. Wound Rep. Reg. 10:397-408.
  11. Zaleskas JM, Kinner BT, Freyman M, Yannas IV, Gibson LJ, and Spector M (2004). Contractile forces generated by articular chondrocytes in collagen-glycosaminoglycan matrices. Biomaterials 25:1299-308.
  12. Yannas, I. V. and Hill, BJ (2004). Selection of biomaterials for peripheral nerve regeneration using data from the tubulation model. Biomaterials. 25:1593-600.
  13. O'Brien FJ, Harley BA, Yannas IV, and Gibson L (2004). Influence of freezing rate on pore structure in freeze-dried collagen-GAG scaffolds. Biomaterials 25:1077-1086.
  14. Yannas IV (2004). Synthesis of Tissues and Organs. ChemBioChem. 4:10-23.
  15. Veilleux NH, Yannas IV, Spector M (2004). Effect of passage number and collagen type on the proliferative, biosynthetic, and contractile activity of adult canine articular chondrocytes in type I and II collagen-glycosaminoglycan matrices in vitro. Tissue Eng. 10:119-27.
  16. Harley BA, Spilker MH, Wu JW, Asano K, Hsu HP, Spector M, Yannas IV (2004). Optimal degradation rate for collagen chambers used for regeneration of peripheral nerves over long gaps. Cells Tissues Organs. 176:153-65.
  17. Pek YS, Spector M, Yannas IV, and Gibson LJ (2004). Degradation of a collagen chondroitin-6-sulfate matrix by collagenase and by chondroitinase. Biomaterials. 25:473-82.
  18. Brau RR and Yannas IV (2004). Tissue Engineering of Skin. In Encyclopedia of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering. pp. 1652-1660. Marcel Dekker.
  19. Yannas IV, Wu J and Spilker M (2004). Peripheral Nerve Regeneration. In Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. 3rd edition. Eds.G. Adelman and B.H. Smith. Elsevier.
  20. Vickers SM, Johnson LL, Zou LQ, Yannas IV, Gibson LJ and Spector M (2004). Expression of a-smooth muscle actin by and contraction of cells derived from synovium. Tissue Eng. 10: 1214-1223.
  21. Lynn AK, Yannas IV, Bonfield W (2004). Antigenicity and immunogenicity of collagen. J Biomed Mater Res. 71B(2):343-54.
  22. Yannas IV, Editor (2005). Regenerative Medicine. Two volumes. New York, Springer.
  23. Zhang M and IV Yannas (2005). Peripheral nerve regeneration. Adv. Biochem. Engin./Biotechnol. 94:67-89.
  24. O'Brien FJ, Harley BA, Yannas IV, Gibson LJ (2005). The effect of pore size on cell adhesion in collagen-GAG scaffolds. Biomaterials. 26(4):433-41.
  25. Yannas IV (2005). Facts and theories of organ regeneration. Adv. Biochem. Engin./Biotechnol. 93:1-31.
  26. Chen P, Marsilio E, Goldstein RH, Yannas IV, and Spector M (2005.) Formation of Lung Alveolar-Like Structures in Collagen-Glycosaminoglycan Scaffolds in Vitro. Tissue Eng. 11:1436-1448.
  27. Yannas IV (2005). Similarities and differences between induced organ regeneration in adults and early fetal regeneration. J. Roy. Soc. Interface 2:403-417.
  28. Harley BA, Hastings AZ, Yannas IV, Sannino A (2006). Fabricating tubular scaffolds with a radial pore size gradient by a spinning technique. Biomaterials. 27(6):866-74.
  29. Farrell A, O’Brien FJ, Doyle P, Fischer J, Yannas IV, Harley BA, O’Connell B, Prendergast PJ, Campbell VA (2006). A collagen-glycosaminoglycan scaffold supports adult rat mesenchymal cell differentiation along osteogenic and chondrogenic routes. Tissue Eng. 12:461-468.
  30. Yannas IV (2006). Artificial skin and dermal equivalents. In Tissue Engineering and Artificial Organs, The Biomedical Engineering Handbook, 3rd ed., JD Bronzino, Ed. Chap. 75, pp. 75-1 to 75-15. Boca Raton: Taylor Francis.
  31. Yannas IV (2006). Biologically active scaffolds based on collagen-GAG copolymers. In Scaffolds in Tissue Engineering, PX Ma and J Elisseeff, Eds. Chap. 1, pp. 3-12. Boca Raton: Taylor and Francis.
  32. Soller EC, Yannas IV (2006). Induced regeneration of skin and peripheral nerves. In The Diabetic Foot, 2nd ed., Veves A, et al., editors, Ch. 5, pp. 83-103, Totowa, NJ: Humana Press.
  33. Ingber DE, Mow VC, Butler D, Niklason L, Huard J, Mao J, Yannas IV, Kaplan D, Vunjak-Novakovich G. Tissue engineering and developmental biology: going biomimetic. (2006). Tissue Engineering 12:3265-3283.
  34. Harley BA, Yannas IV (2006). Induced peripheral nerve regeneration using scaffolds. Minerva Biotechnologica.18: 97-120.
  35. O'Brien FJ, Harley BA, Waller MA, Yannas IV, Gibson LJ, Prendergast PJ (2007). The effect of pore size on permeability and cell attachment in collagen scaffolds for tissue engineering. Technol Health Care.15(1):3-17.
  36. Yannas IV, Kwan MD, Longaker MT (2007). Early fetal healing as a model for adult organ regeneration. Tissue Eng. 13(8):1789-98; also Jan 1; [Epub ahead of print.]
  37. Yannas IV, M Zhang and MH Spilker (2007). Standardized criterion to analyze and directly compare various smaterials and models for peripheral nerve regeneration. J Biomater Sci Polymer Edn 18:943-966.
  38. Madaghiele M, Sannino A, Yannas IV, Spector M (2007). Collagen-based matrices with axially oriented
    pores. J Biomed Mater Res A. 2008 Jun 1;85(3):757-67.
  39. Yannas IV (2008). Organ Regeneration. In McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology, pp. 245-7.
  40. Harley BA, Kim H-D, Zaman MH, Yannas IV, Lauffenburger DA, Gibson LJ. Micro-architecture of three-
    dimensional scaffolds influences cell migration behavior via junction interactions. Biophys J. (2008)
  41. Yannas IV (2008). Tissues and Organs, Synthesis of. Wiley Encyclopedia of Chemical Biology.
  42. Harley BA, Lynn AK, Wissner-Gross Z, Bonfield W, Yannas IV, Gibson LJ. Design of a Multiphase
    Osteochondral Scaffold IV: Fabrication of layered scaffolds with soft interfaces. J Biomed Mater Res A
    Revised Submission, 2009.
  43. Harley BA, Lynn AK, Wissner-Gross Z, Bonfield W, Yannas IV, Gibson LJ. Design of a Multiphase
    Osteochondral Scaffold III: Fabrication of a mineralized collagen-GAG scaffold. J Biomed Mat Res A
    (2009) March 19 [Epub ahead of print.]
  44. Yannas IV (2009). Principles of skin regeneration. Chapter in Treatments of Skin Loss, Woodhead,
    London, UK.
  45. Harley BA, Lynn AK, Wissner-Gross Z, Bonfield W, Yannas IV, Gibson LJ. Design of a Multiphase
    Osteochondral Scaffold II: Fabrication of a mineralized collagen-GAG scaffold. J Biomed Mat Res A
    (2009) March 19 [Epub ahead of print.]
  46. Song G, Nguyen DT, Pietramaggiori G, Scherer S, Chen B, Zhan Q, Ogawa R, Yannas IV, Wagers AJ.
    Murphy GF, Kimberly R, Schanche RA, Orgill DP, Murphy GF (2009). Hematopoietic Participation in
    Early Cutaneous Wound Healing Evaluated in a Parabiotic Model. Accepted for publication Wound
    Repair and Regeneration.
  47. Lynn AK, Best SM, Cameron RE, Harley BA, Yannas IV, Gibson LJ, Bonfield W (2009). Design of a
    Multiphase Osteochondral Scaffold I: Control of Chemical Composition. J Biomed Mat Res A March 19
    [Epub ahead of print.]
  48. Sannino A, Silvestri L, Madaghiele M, Harley B, Yannas IV (2009). Modeling the fabrication process of
    micropatterned macromolecular scaffolds for peripheral nerve regeneration. J Applied Polymer Science.
    Accepted for publication.
  49. Yannas IV, Tzeranis DS, Harley BA and So PTC, (2009). Biologically active collagen-based
    scaffolds: Advances in processing and characterization. Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society.
    Accepted for publication.

Last Updated: December 22, 2009