Current Members

Principal Investigator


Nenad Bursac, PhD

Professor of Biomedical Engineering
(919) 660-5510

My research interests include adult and embryonic 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, and micropatterning of proteins and hydrogels.

Research Scientists

Ying Qian, MS

My primary responsibilities involve animal surgeries: coronary artery ligation, implant engineered cardiac tissue patch onto heart, skeletal muscle injury and repair, engineered tissue window chamber implantation, and following implantation studies with biochemical and molecular biology analysis.

Laboratory Staff

Sumie Okuwa, MS

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

Post-Doctoral Associates

Soon Chul Heo, PhD

I work on engineered cardiac tissues derived from human pluripotent stem cells.

Mark Juhas, PhD

My project is engineering biomimetic, highly-functional skeletal muscle tissues capable of self-repair in vitro and survival, vascularization, and maturation in vivo

Alastair Khodabukus, PhD

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

Jordan Pomeroy, MD, PhD

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

Lingjun Rao, PhD

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

Nadia Abutaleb, BS

I am studying the regenerative capacity of tissue-engineered skeletal muscle in vitro

Brian Allen, BS

During my first year, I will explore the potential of cardiac patches derived from human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells to repair damaged tissue after myocardial infarction.

Swarnali Sengupta Bjergaard, BS

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


Chris Jackman, BS

My research focuses on postnatal hypertrophy and maturation of cardiomyocytes in engineered 3D tissues.

Yanzhen Li, MS

I study how different cardiac fibroblast phenotypes affect the structure and function of engineered 3D tissues.

Hung Nguyen, BS

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

Ilia Shadrin, BS

My project is focused on differentiating cardiomyocytes from human stem cells, and assembling them into highly functional 3D cardiac patches.

Jason Wang, BS

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


Undergraduate Students