Current Members

Principal Investigator

Nenad Bursac

Professor of Biomedical Engineering


(919) 660-5510

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.

Hengtao Zhang

I work on engineering of excitable fibroblasts for treatment of cardiac arrhythmias.

Laboratory Staff

Sumie Okuwa

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

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

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

Nadia Abutaleb

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

Swarnali Sengupta Bjergaard

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

Abbi Helfer

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

Amulya Kaza

I work on human skeletal muscle tissue engineering.

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.

Jason Wang

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

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.