Current Members

Principal Investigator

Nenad  Bursac

Nenad Bursac

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

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

Karen Heman

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

Alastair  Khodabukus

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.

Renzhi  Zhan

Renzhi Zhan

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

Laboratory Staff

Binjie  Li

Binjie Li

I am currently working on designing a stretch device to enhance the development and maturation of cardiac muscle tissue.

Post-Doctoral Associates

Ethan  Lotz

Ethan Lotz

I am interested in developing functional neuromuscular junctions in vitro, the roles immune and glial cells play in the innervation of skeletal muscle, and regenerative strategies for the reinnervation of skeletal muscle following volumetric muscle loss in vivo.

Graduate Students

Torie  Broer

Torie Broer

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

Sophia  Bunnell

Sophia Bunnell

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

Taylor  Chavez

Taylor Chavez

I am interested in engineering skeletal muscle tissue and studying its regenerative capabilities in vitro.

Zachary  Fralish

Zachary Fralish

I am interested in the functionality and regenerative capabilities of engineered skeletal muscle.

Abbi  Helfer

Abbi Helfer

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

Marisa  Patsy

Marisa Patsy

I am interested in the relationship between neurons and cardiomyocytes in the context of cardiac innervation, regeneration, and disease.

Jacob  Scherba

Jacob Scherba

I am interested in the relationship between cardiac fibroblasts, cardiomyocytes, and the extracellular matrix as it relates to the biomechanics of cardiac disease and regeneration.

Nicholas   Strash

Nicholas Strash

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

Tianyu  Wu

Tianyu Wu

My research focuses on developing prokaryotic voltage-gated sodium channels (BacNav) based gene therapies for cardiac arrhythmias.

Undergraduate Students

Sarah  Broders

Sarah Broders

I am interested in studying cardiomyocyte proliferation.

Geovanni Janer Carattini

Geovanni Janer Carattini

I am studying the proliferation of cardiomyocytes.

Ishika  Gupta

Ishika Gupta

I am a sophomore at Duke pursuing a biology major on the pre-med track. In this lab, I will be helping study how the presence of immune cells effects the development and function of engineered skeletal muscle tissue.

Aleksandra  Koroza

Aleksandra Koroza

I am currently studying the development of engineered skeletal muscle tissue.

Amber  Miranda

Amber Miranda

I am studying regenerative cardiomyocyte proliferation and working on developing an in vivo heart injury model.

Kishen  Mitra

Kishen Mitra

I am currently working on human cardiac tissue engineering from pluripotent stem cells.

Ashley  Myers

Ashley Myers

I am currently studying methods to induce cardiomyocyte proliferation.

Ramona  Naseri

Ramona Naseri

I am currently studying cardiomyocyte proliferation and maturation.

Michael  Tian

Michael Tian

I am studying cardiomyocyte proliferation and gene therapies for cardiac arrhythmias.