It gives me great pleasure to present this month's themed issue on regenerative medicine, put together by Dr Suwan N. Jayasinghe, one of the advisory editors of Materials Today and part of the BioPhysics Group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University College London.

Repair, replacement, and rejuvenation are the famous “R3” goals spearheaded by regenerative biology and medicine (RBM). However, the value of living reconstructs goes far beyond the repair, replacement, and rejuvenation of tissues and organs within the clinic. The study of these materials is aiding our understanding of cellular and molecular activity.

Although RBM is an old topic, it has recently returned to prominence as our need for reconstructs has risen sharply with our increasingly aged society. While it is virtually impossible for one special issue to address this enormous subject, this issue covers highlights in developmental biology and the methods of forming functional tissues. We would like to thank the authors' for their wonderful contributions which have done justice to this issue.

Jennings begins the issue by elucidating the utility of Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. Niklason et al. continues by reviewing recent advances and challenges in lung regeneration. Dr Jayasinghe's review describes jet-based cell spraying techniques, critically reviewing each approach. Scotton highlights the importance of lung structure and function. Then finally L'Heureux et al. discuss progress in engineering functional tissue by way of the self-assembly of cells.

Interestingly, despite their diversity, these invited articles all demonstrate our desire to fully understand basic biology from a molecular level upwards, while battling to develop functional multi-cellular structures. In doing so, the articles clearly illustrate how many fields of research can become unified toward the twin goals of expanding our knowledge and practical application. We hope the reader enjoys the articles in this issue, which highlight the speedy developments in this multidisciplinary endeavor between health and materials science.

If you have any questions about this issue, or would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to contact Dr Jayasinghe, (s.jayasinghe@ucl.ac.uk) or myself, here at Materials Today in the usual way.

Read full text on ScienceDirect

DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(11)70097-9