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

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.

Chen Zhaowei

I am interested in developing organ-on-chip platforms containing engineered cardiac and skeletal muscle microtissues to enable high throughput pharmacological and genome editing screening.

Graduate Students

Torie Broer

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

Sophia Bunnell

I am working on cardiomyocyte proliferation in the context of regeneration.

Abbi Helfer

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

Xiaoyu Qi

I’m studying engineered skeletal muscle.

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

Geovanni Janer Carattini

I am studying the proliferation of cardiomyocytes.

Lillian Hiser

I am currently working on the improvement of the structure and function of primary human and induced pluripotent stem cell engineered skeletal muscle tissues, which will be used for improved disease modeling of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and dysferlinopathy.

Sabrina Tran

I am studying the treatment of Pompe’s disease in engineered tissues derived from human skeletal muscle cells.

Maria ter Weele

I am working on characterizing engineered sodium channels.

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.