Nenad Bursac, PhD

Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Associate Professor in Medicine
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Co-Director of the Regeneration Next Initiative
Campus mail CIEMAS 1141, Durham, NC 27708
Phone (919) 660-5510

Bursac's research interests include pluripotent 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. Organ-on-chip technologies.

The focus of my research is application of stem cells and tissue engineering methodologies in experimental in vitro studies and cell and tissue replacement therapies. Micropatterning of extracellular matrix proteins or protein hydrogels and engineering of synthetic scaffolds are used to build stem cell-derived cardiac and skeletal muscle tissues that replicate the structure-function relationships present in healthy and diseased muscle. These systems are used to separate and systematically study the roles of structural and genetic factors that contribute cardiac and skeletal muscle function and disease at multiple organizational levels (from single cell to 3-dimensional tissue). Optical recordings with voltage and calcium sensitive dyes in synthetic tissues allow us to analyze and optimize normal electrical function as well as study complicated spatio-temporal changes in electrical activity encountered in cardiac arrhythmias and fibrillation. Contractile force measurements allow us to explore factors that would optimize mechanical function of engineered tissues. Examples of the current research projects include: 1) design of co-cultures made of cardiac and different types of stem cells to model and study cell and tissue therapies for cardiac infarction and arrhythmias, 2) local and global gene manipulation in cultures of cardiac and other cell types, 3) engineering of vascularized cardiac and skeletal muscle tissue constructs with controllable structure and function, 4) implantation of stem cell-derived cardiac tissue patches in animal models of cardiac infarction, and 5) design of synthetic excitable tissues for experimental studies and novel cell therapies.

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., Boston University, 2000
  • B.S.E., University of Belgrade, 1994

Publications

Jackman, CP, Ganapathi, AM, Asfour, H, Qian, Y, Allen, BW, Li, Y, and Bursac, N. "Engineered cardiac tissue patch maintains structural and electrical properties after epicardial implantation." Biomaterials 159 (March 2018): 48-58.

PMID
29309993
Full Text

Rao, L, Qian, Y, Khodabukus, A, Ribar, T, and Bursac, N. "Engineering human pluripotent stem cells into a functional skeletal muscle tissue." Nature communications 9, no. 1 (January 9, 2018): 126-.

PMID
29317646
Full Text

Shadrin, IY, Allen, BW, Qian, Y, Jackman, CP, Carlson, AL, Juhas, ME, and Bursac, N. "Cardiopatch platform enables maturation and scale-up of human pluripotent stem cell-derived engineered heart tissues." Nature communications 8, no. 1 (November 28, 2017): 1825-.

PMID
29184059
Full Text

Polstein, LR, Juhas, M, Hanna, G, Bursac, N, and Gersbach, CA. "An Engineered Optogenetic Switch for Spatiotemporal Control of Gene Expression, Cell Differentiation, and Tissue Morphogenesis." ACS synthetic biology 6, no. 11 (November 2017): 2003-2013.

PMID
28793186
Full Text

Cao, J, Wang, J, Jackman, CP, Cox, AH, Trembley, MA, Balowski, JJ, Cox, BD, De Simone, A, Dickson, AL, Di Talia, S, Small, EM, Kiehart, DP, Bursac, N, and Poss, KD. "Tension Creates an Endoreplication Wavefront that Leads Regeneration of Epicardial Tissue." Developmental cell 42, no. 6 (September 2017): 600-615.e4.

PMID
28950101
Full Text

Yanamandala, M, Zhu, W, Garry, DJ, Kamp, TJ, Hare, JM, Jun, H-W, Yoon, Y-S, Bursac, N, Prabhu, SD, Dorn, GW, Bolli, R, Kitsis, RN, and Zhang, J. "Overcoming the Roadblocks to Cardiac Cell Therapy Using Tissue Engineering." Journal of the American College of Cardiology 70, no. 6 (August 2017): 766-775. (Review)

PMID
28774384
Full Text

Bassat, E, Mutlak, YE, Genzelinakh, A, Shadrin, IY, Baruch Umansky, K, Yifa, O, Kain, D, Rajchman, D, Leach, J, Riabov Bassat, D, Udi, Y, Sarig, R, Sagi, I, Martin, JF, Bursac, N, Cohen, S, and Tzahor, E. "The extracellular matrix protein agrin promotes heart regeneration in mice." Nature 547, no. 7662 (July 2017): 179-184.

PMID
28581497
Full Text

Li, Y, Asfour, H, and Bursac, N. "Age-dependent functional crosstalk between cardiac fibroblasts and cardiomyocytes in a 3D engineered cardiac tissue." Acta biomaterialia 55 (June 2017): 120-130.

PMID
28455218
Full Text

Liau, B, Jackman, CP, Li, Y, and Bursac, N. "Developmental stage-dependent effects of cardiac fibroblasts on function of stem cell-derived engineered cardiac tissues." Scientific reports 7 (February 9, 2017): 42290-.

PMID
28181589
Full Text

Gokhale, TA, Kim, JM, Kirkton, RD, Bursac, N, and Henriquez, CS. "Modeling an Excitable Biosynthetic Tissue with Inherent Variability for Paired Computational-Experimental Studies." PLoS computational biology 13, no. 1 (January 20, 2017): e1005342-.

PMID
28107358
Full Text

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