Tissue engineering was once considered a sub field of biomaterials, but having grown in scope and importance it can be considered as a field in its own right. It is the use of a combination of cells, engineering and materials methods, and suitable biochemical and physio-chemical factors to improve or replace biological functions.
While most definitions of tissue engineering cover a broad range of applications, in practice the term is closely associated with applications that repair or replace portions of or whole tissues (i.e., bone, cartilage, blood vessels, bladder, skin etc.). Often, the tissues involved require certain mechanical and structural properties for proper functioning. The term has also been applied to efforts to perform specific biochemical functions using cells within an artificially-created support system (e.g. an artificial pancreas, or a bioartificial liver). The term regenerative medicine is often used synonymously with tissue engineering.
Biomedical engineering is often regarded as the parental field. Before enrolling for the course, a candidate should pass the HSC or 10+2 examination with science as the main discipline. BME can be chosen as a special subject in engineering and a post-graduation degree can also be acquired. A flair for research coupled with excellent academic records allows the candidate to obtain a doctorate degree from India or abroad.
BME courses in India are available at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, Banaras Hindu University Institute of Technology in Varanasi, Jadavpur University in Kolkata and Dwarkadas J. Sanghvi College of Engineering in Mumbai, among others.
The job prospects for tissue engineering are really bright. It is a fast growing industry and offers handsome pay packages.