Current Members

Principal Investigator

Nenad Bursac

Professor of Biomedical Engineering


(919) 660-5510

Embryonic and adult stem cell therapies for heart and muscle disease; cardiac and skeletal muscle tissue engineering; cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmias; genetic modifications of stem and somatic cells; micropatterning of proteins and hydrogels.

Research Scientists

Karen Heman

I will be performing rodent surgeries to support cardiac and skeletal muscle studies.

Renzhi Zhan

I am working on human engineered skeletal and cardiac muscle for organ-on-chip studies.

Laboratory Staff

Amulya Kaza

Associate in research

I work on human skeletal muscle tissue engineering.

Sumie Okuwa

Lab Manager

I am the lab manager for the Bursac Lab, and I also assist lab members with molecular biology and cell culture.

Post-Doctoral Associates

Alastair Khodabukus

I work on developing more physiologically relevant tissue engineered skeletal muscle to study both healthy and diseased muscle physiology in human and rat cells.

Hanjun Li

I study the mechanisms of ion channel trafficking in reponse to biomechanical cues.

Hung Nguyen

I work on designing and engineering electrically active primary human cells with customized electrophysiological phenotypes for cardiac repair.

Jordan Pomeroy

I am interested in the fidelity of the electrical system and the role of fibroblasts in cardiac regeneration.

Lingjun Rao

My current project is focused on generating functional skeletal muscle bundles with cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells for drug development, disease modeling and implantation therapies.

Graduate Students

Swarnali Sengupta Bjergaard

I am studying how mechanical forces regulate the recruitment and membrane distribution of ion channels.

Torie Broer

I am  studying how the presence of immune cells affects the development and function of engineered skeletal muscle tissue.

Abbi Helfer

I work on human cardiac tissue engineering from pluripotent stem cells, and gene editing.

Yanzhen Li

I am studying how disease-induced changes in fibroblast phenotype alter the electrical and mechanical function of 3D engineered cardiac tissues and determine the underlying molecular mechanisms.

Nicholas Strash

I am currently interested in studying the role of polyploidy in the context of proliferation and maturation of human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes.

Jason Wang

I am exploring methods to improve the regenerative capacity of engineered tissues derived from human skeletal muscle cells.

Sinan Xiong

I'm studying cardiomyocyte proliferation signaling network.

Undergraduate Students

Neel Prabhu

I am interested in developing tissue-engineered skeletal muscle models of congenital human disease to study diseased physiology and test preclinical treatments.

Chris Zhou

I’m currently working on macrophage induced human skeletal muscle regeneration and developing an in vitro model for glycogen storage diseases using engineered human muscle.