Nenad Bursac, PhD

Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Associate Professor in Medicine
Professor in Cell Biology
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: Stem cell, tissue engineering, and gene based therapies for heart and muscle regeneration; Cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmias; Organ-on-chip and tissue engineering technologies for disease modeling and therapeutic screening; Small and large animal models of heart and muscle injury, disease, and regeneration.

The focus of my research is on application of pluripotent stem cells, tissue engineering, and gene therapy technologies for: 1) basic studies of striated muscle biology and disease in vitro and 2) regenerative therapies in small and large animal models in vivo. For in vitro studies, micropatterning of extracellular matrix proteins or protein hydrogels and 3D cell culture are used to engineer rodent and human striated muscle tissues that replicate the structure-function relationships present in healthy and diseased muscles. We use these models 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 cells to tissues. Combining cardiac and skeletal muscle cells with primary or iPSC-derived non-muscle cells (endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, immune system cells, neurons) allows us to generate more realistic models of healthy and diseased human tissues and utilize them to mechanistically study molecular and cellular processes of tissue injury, vascularization, innervation, electromechanical integration, fibrosis, and functional repair. Currently, in vitro models of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Pompe disease, dyspherlinopathies, and various cardiomyopathies are studied in the lab. For in vivo studies, we employ rodent models of volumetric skeletal muscle loss, cardiotoxin and BaCl2 injury as well as myocardial infarction and transverse aortic constriction to study how cell, tissue engineering, and gene (viral) therapies can lead to safe and efficient tissue repair and regeneration. In large animal (porcine) models of myocardial injury and arrhythmias, we are exploring how human iPSC derived heart tissue patches and application of engineered ion channels can improve cardiac function and prevent heart failure or sudden cardiac death.

 

Education and Training

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

Publications

Koeberl, DD, Case, LE, Smith, EC, Walters, C, Han, S-O, Li, Y, Chen, W, Hornik, CP, Huffman, KM, Kraus, WE, Thurberg, BL, Corcoran, DL, Bali, D, Bursac, N, and Kishnani, PS. "Correction of Biochemical Abnormalities and Improved Muscle Function in a Phase I/II Clinical Trial of Clenbuterol in Pompe Disease." Molecular Therapy : the Journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy 26, no. 9 (September 2018): 2304-2314.

PMID
30025991
Full Text

Jackman, C, Li, H, and Bursac, N. "Long-term contractile activity and thyroid hormone supplementation produce engineered rat myocardium with adult-like structure and function." Acta Biomaterialia 78 (September 2018): 98-110.

PMID
30086384
Full Text

Khodabukus, A, Prabhu, N, Wang, J, and Bursac, N. "In Vitro Tissue-Engineered Skeletal Muscle Models for Studying Muscle Physiology and Disease." Advanced Healthcare Materials 7, no. 15 (August 2018): e1701498-null. (Review)

PMID
29696831
Full Text

Gokhale, TA, Asfour, H, Verma, S, Bursac, N, and Henriquez, CS. "Microheterogeneity-induced conduction slowing and wavefront collisions govern macroscopic conduction behavior: A computational and experimental study." Plos Computational Biology 14, no. 7 (July 16, 2018): e1006276-null.

PMID
30011279
Full Text

Nguyen, HX, Kirkton, RD, and Bursac, N. "Generation and customization of biosynthetic excitable tissues for electrophysiological studies and cell-based therapies." Nature Protocols 13, no. 5 (May 2018): 927-945.

PMID
29622805
Full Text

Chen, Y-H, Chou, C-H, Khodabukus, A, Bursac, N, Truskey, G, Kraus, W, and Kraus, VB. "EFFECTS OF SIMULATED MUSCLE EXERCISE ON CHONDROCYTE GENE EXPRESSION IN A 3D-ALGINATE BEAD MODEL SYSTEM." OARSI World Congress on Osteoarthritis - Promoting Clinical and Basic Research in Osteoarthritis. Liverpool, ENGLAND. April 26, 2018 - April 29, 2018.: ELSEVIER SCI LTD, April 1, 2018.

Scholars@Duke

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

Koeberl, D, Case, L, Smith, EC, Li, Y, Walters, C, Hornik, C, Thurberg, B, Bali, D, Bursac, N, and Kishnani, PS. "Correction of biochemical abnormalities and gene expression associated with improved muscle function in a phase I/II clinical trial of clenbuterol in Pompe disease patients stably treated with ERT." February 2018.

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

Li, Y, Asfour, H, Mao, L, Rockman, HA, and Bursac, N. "3D Tissue-engineered Model of Pressure-overload Induced Cardiac Fibrosis." TERMIS - Americas Conference and Exhibition. Charlotte, NC. December 3, 2017 - December 6, 2017.: MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC, December 1, 2017.

Scholars@Duke

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