Bill Murphy is the Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation, Co-Director of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center, and Director of the Human MAPs Center at the University of Wisconsin. His research interests focus on creating new biomaterials inspired by the materials found in nature. Murphy’s research group is using new biomaterials to understand stem cell behavior and to induce tissue regeneration. He has published more than 150 scientific manuscripts, filed over 40 patents, co-founded multiple venture-backed start-up companies, and received awards that include the National Science Foundation Career Award, the Wisconsin Vilas Associate Award, the H.I. Romnes Fellowship, and induction as a Fellow in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.
The biomaterials developed in Murphy’s research group have impacted a range of biomedical applications. In one example, his research group has developed medical devices with biologically active coatings that enable unprecedented protein/DNA/RNA stability and biological activity. Controllable coatings also enable spatial and temporal control over biologic delivery from a variety of therapeutic devices, ranging from 3-D printed scaffolds to surgical sutures. This “modular” approach results in devices that have optimized properties from the macroscopic scale to the molecular scale. In another example, his lab has used customized biomaterials to control diverse stem cell behaviors, including adhesion, proliferation, migration, phenotypic transformation, and lineage-specific differentiation. They have recently used biomaterial arrays to identify environments in which stem cells assemble into human, organotypic tissues that are robust and reproducible, and translated the tissues to microscale devices for high throughput screening. Biomaterials developed by his group are progressing toward widespread use in clinical applications, pharmaceutical applications, and as tools for fundamental biological discovery.