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.

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

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

Laboratory Staff

Post-Doctoral Associates

Zhaowei Chen

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.

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.

Jordan Pomeroy

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

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.

Taylor Chavez

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

Zachary Fralish

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

Abbi Helfer

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

Binjie Li

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

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

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.

Tianyu Wu

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

Undergraduate Students

Geovanni Janer Carattini

I am studying the proliferation of cardiomyocytes.

Anya Gupta

I help with DNA mini and midi preps, the aliquoting of solutions, lab cleanup and maintenance, restocking items, and autoclaving standard laboratory materials.

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.

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.

Aleksandra Koroza

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

Kishen Mitra

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

Ashley Myers

I am currently studying methods to induce cardiomyocyte proliferation.

Ramona Naseri

I am currently studying cardiomyocyte proliferation and maturation.

Michael Tian

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

Sabrina Tran

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