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SU Professor and Researcher at the Forefront of Organ and Tissue Preservation

September 21, 2023

Dr. Shen Ren’s Single-Mode Electromagnetic Resonance (SMER) system aims to fight the global shortage of organs for transplantation.

Shen Ren, PhD, an assistant teaching professor and researcher in Seattle University’s College of Science and Engineering, is working to combat the global shortage of organs for transplants. According to academic research published in 2017 in the journal Nature Biotechnology, “The data suggests it is among the greatest crises facing biomedicine today.” Six years later, what the research from 2017 showed is “sadly still the truth,” explains Dr. Ren.

“There is a long waiting list for organ transplantation, but not because of a lack of organ donation,” explains Dr. Ren. “It’s an inability to preserve organs while awaiting donor matches.”

Dr. Ren’s created what’s called Single-Mode Electromagnetic Resonance (SMER) technology that targets extending organ transplant viability and biological functions from the current 24 hours to months, significantly improving organ transplantation accessibility. Dr. Ren has established a fully functioning prototype with proof-of-concept results of human cell suspension and animal tissue.

In addition to other awards and acknowledgements for the SMER technology, Dr. Ren—along with his business partner Vincent Rettinger, BSME ’25—won the $20,000 grand prize in June at the Albers School of Business and Economics Harriet Stephenson Business Plan Competition. The award, along with funding received due to his multidisciplinary work with other STEM scholars at SU, enabled Dr. Ren to establish his own research lab on campus.

“The clear lifesaving nature of the technology, along with Dr. Ren and his teams’ compelling progress in product development, excited the judges and made SMER a standout among a tough slate of finalists,” explains Peter Rowan, the executive director of SU’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. “The SMER team effectively convinced the judges that they were on the cusp of solving a major problem in organ preservation.”

For media inquiries, contact Lincoln Vander Veen at or 425-830-2448.