Timothy M. Wick.

Senior Associate Dean, School of Engineering; Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Hoehn 101C
(205) 934-8400

Research and Teaching Interests: Orthopedic tissue engineering, Transdermal drug delivery, Engineering design and innovation

Office Hours: By appointment

Education:

  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Rice University
  • Post-doc, Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering, Rice University

Dr. Wick began his academic career in the School of Chemical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he developed internationally recognized research programs in cell adhesion and tissue engineering. He served as director of the Interdisciplinary Bioengineering Graduate Program from 2004 to 2005. He was recruited to UAB as Chair of the BME Department and co-director of UAB’s BioMatrix Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (BERM) Research Center in 2005. In 2015, he was appointed Senior Associate Dean of Engineering at UAB.

Dr. Wick has more than 29 years of experience developing, evaluating, and validating biomedical engineering systems and devices to solve health-related problems and improve healthcare technology to benefit society. He has managed several million dollars of research funds from NIH, other government agencies, industry, and philanthropic foundations to develop physiologically relevant microvascular flow models to study cell adhesion, to develop 3-D human tissue constructs and bioreactors for tissue engineering and to develop novel transdermal drug delivery technologies. He has successfully mentored more than twenty-five master’s and Ph.D. students and more than 30 undergraduate honors students and research scholars. Dr. Wick has received the Lilly Foundation Teaching Fellowship, Outstanding Chemical Engineering Professor, and the UAB Graduate Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring.

Dr. Wick provides valuable leadership to develop innovative and interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate degree programs, certificate programs, and student training. As director of the Interdisciplinary Engineering Ph.D. program, he works with faculty in engineering and across UAB to develop individualized interdisciplinary doctoral training programs to enable students to meet career goals in industry or academia. In summer 2015, Dr. Wick started Project Lab with several colleagues as an organized extracurricular to provide students from engineering, arts, sciences, and business interested in product design and development opportunities to innovate and develop engineering solutions to client problems. In Project Lab, students are trained in product design and development, innovation, teamwork, engineering validation, project documentation and marketing. To date, students have delivered more than 10 devices or apps that improve medical simulation and training, improve access for disabled persons, facilitate hearing loss prevention training, and assist patient rehabilitation.

Research Interests

Dr. Wick's major contributions to vascular biology, tissue engineering, and drug delivery are in the following areas:

  • identification of mechanisms of sickle red blood cell adherence to endothelium and its role in pathophysiology of sickle cell anemia;
  • orthopaedic and cardiac tissue engineering and bioreactor design; and 
  • design of controlled release systems to enhance transdermal drug delivery.
Dr. Wick’s early research was directed at understanding the role of red blood cell adhesion in the pathophysiology of sickle cell anemia. Using flow chambers and physiologically relevant models of microvascular blood flow to measure kinetics and strength of sickle red blood cell adherence to human endothelial cells under microvascular flow conditions, his group identified cell adhesion receptors on sickle red blood cells and demonstrated that sickle red cells bind to endothelial cells via specific receptor-mediated interactions. These mechanistic studies identified a novel role for sickle red blood cell adhesion to endothelium as a potential contributing factor to sickle cell vaso-occlusive pain episodes that contributed to development of anti-adhesion therapies for sickle cell anemia.

The goal of Dr. Wick’s tissue engineering research is to develop 3-D tissue constructs, bioreactors and bioprocessing technologies to repair or replace diseased or damaged organs. His group uses novel biomaterials as scaffolds for cells to proliferate and mature into functional 3D tissue constructs. They have developed and validated bioreactors that provide spatially correct delivery of mechanical forces and nutrient transport to fabricate musculoskeletal and cardiovascular tissue constructs under well-defined controllable conditions. The Wick lab recently fabricated a multicomponent osteoinductive biomaterial that shows promise for bone regeneration from pluripotent stem cells. Their bioreactors are scalable and can be integrated with robotic and process technologies for large-scale tissue production.

A recent collaboration between UAB and Southern Research aims to enhance transdermal delivery of NSAIDs to treat joint pain associated with osteoarthritis. The technology developed integrates diclofenac sodium into a wearable bandage that provides rapid and sustained delivery of therapeutic levels of drug is an attractive alternative to topical application using a gel or solution. Future iterations of the device can include transport of other therapeutics (e.g. corticosteroids) and novel therapeutics for arthritis and related musculoskeletal conditions.

Select Publications

  • Bhuiyan D, Middleton J, Tannenbaum R, Wick TM. Bone Regeneration from Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Porous Hydroxyapatite-PLGA-Collagen Bioactive Polymer Scaffolds. Bio-Medical Materials and Engineering. (In Press, Accepted 2 August 2017.
  • Zavgorodnya O, Carmona-Moran CA, Kozlovskaya V, Liu F, Wick TM, Kharlampieva E. Temperature-Responsive Nanogel Multilayers of Poly(N-vinylcaprolactam) for Topical Drug Delivery. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. In Press, Accepted 21 July 2017.
  • Carmona-Moran CA, Zavgorodnya O, Penman AD, Kharampieva E, Bridges Jr SL, Hergenrother RW, Singh JA, Wick TM. Development of Gellan Gum Containing Formulations for Transdermal Drug Delivery: Component Evaluation and Controlled Drug Release using Temperature Responsive Nanogels. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 509 (2016) 465–476. Available online 1 June 2016, doi:10.1016/j.ijpharm.2016.05.062.
  • Bhuiyan D, Middleton J, Tannenbaum R, Wick TM. Mechanical Properties and Osteogenic Potential of Hydroxyapatite-PLGA-Collagen Biomaterial for Bone Regeneration. Journal of Biomaterials Science: Polymer Edition. 27(11):1139-54 (2016). doi: 10.1080/09205063.2016.1184121.
  • Andukuri A, Min I, Hwang P, Alexander G, Marshall LE, Berry JL, Wick TM, Joung YK, Yoon YS, Brott B, Han DK, Jun HW. Evaluation of the Effect of Expansion and Shear Stress on a Self-assembled Endothelium Mimicking Nanomatrix Coating for Drug Eluting Stents. Biofabrication. Sep;6(3):035019 (2014). doi: 10.1088/1758-5082/6/3/035019. Epub: 2014 Jul 22.
  • Bhuiyan D, Jablonsky MJ, Kolesov I, Middleton J, Wick TM, Tannenbaum R. Novel Synthesis and Characterization of a Collagen-based Biopolymer Initiated by Hydroxyapatite Nanoparticles. Acta Biomaterialia. 15:181-190 (2015). doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2014.11.044.
  • Carmona-Moran CA, Wick TM. Identification and Validation of Growth Factor Regimen for Chondrogenesis of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells in a Shear and Perfusion Bioreactor. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering. 8(2):267-277 (2015) doi: 10.1007/s12195-015-0387-6.
  • Bamman MM, Wick TM, Carmona-Moran CA, Bridges Jr. SL. Exercise Medicine for Osteoarthritis: Research Strategies to Maximize Effectiveness. Arthritis Care & Research. 68(3), pp. 288–291 (2016).

Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies

  • Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
  • Member, Biomedical Engineering Society
  • Member, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society
  • Member, Board of Directors, Moss Rock Festival, Birmingham, AL