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 Duke Regeneration Center
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 (Serbia), 1994

Grants

Publications

Wang, Jason, Torie Broer, Taylor Chavez, Chris J. Zhou, Sabrina Tran, Yu Xiang, Alastair Khodabukus, Yarui Diao, and Nenad Bursac. “Myoblast deactivation within engineered human skeletal muscle creates a transcriptionally heterogeneous population of quiescent satellite-like cells.” Biomaterials 284 (May 2022): 121508. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2022.121508.

PMID
35421801
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Strash, Nicholas, Sophia DeLuca, Geovanni Janer Carattini, Yifan Chen, Jacob Scherba, Mehul Jain, Ramona Naseri, Tianyu Wu, and Nenad Bursac. “BRAF-V600E-Mediated Erk Activation Promotes Sustained Cell Cycling and Broad Transcriptional Changes in Neonatal Cardiomyocytes.” BioRxiv, March 2022. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.02.28.482357.

Full Text

Scherba, Jacob C., Ravi Karra, Joseph W. Turek, and Nenad Bursac. “Toward improved understanding of cardiac development and congenital heart disease: The advent of cardiac organoids.” J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg, February 23, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2022.02.028.

PMID
35307217
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Nguyen, Hung X., Tianyu Wu, Daniel Needs, Hengtao Zhang, Robin M. Perelli, Sophia DeLuca, Rachel Yang, et al. “Engineered bacterial voltage-gated sodium channel platform for cardiac gene therapy.” Nat Commun 13, no. 1 (February 2, 2022): 620. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-28251-6.

PMID
35110560
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Janbandhu, Vaibhao, Vikram Tallapragada, Ralph Patrick, Yanzhen Li, Dhanushi Abeygunawardena, David T. Humphreys, Ella M. M. A. Martin, et al. “Hif-1a suppresses ROS-induced proliferation of cardiac fibroblasts following myocardial infarction.” Cell Stem Cell 29, no. 2 (February 2022): 281-297.e12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2021.10.009.

PMID
34762860
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Strash, Nicholas, Sophia DeLuca, Geovanni L. Janer Carattini, Soon Chul Heo, Ryne Gorsuch, and Nenad Bursac. “Human Erbb2-induced Erk activity robustly stimulates cycling and functional remodeling of rat and human cardiomyocytes.” Elife 10 (October 19, 2021): e65512. https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.65512.

PMID
34665129
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Wang, Jason, Chris J. Zhou, Alastair Khodabukus, Sabrina Tran, Sang-Oh Han, Aaron L. Carlson, Lauran Madden, Priya S. Kishnani, Dwight D. Koeberl, and Nenad Bursac. “Three-dimensional tissue-engineered human skeletal muscle model of Pompe disease.” Commun Biol 4, no. 1 (May 5, 2021): 524. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02059-4.

PMID
33953320
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Zhan, Ren-Zhi, Lingjun Rao, Zhaowei Chen, Nicholas Strash, and Nenad Bursac. “Loss of sarcomeric proteins via upregulation of JAK/STAT signaling underlies interferon-γ-induced contractile deficit in engineered human myocardium.” Acta Biomaterialia 126 (May 2021): 144–53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2021.03.007.

PMID
33705988
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Arnson, Benjamin, Jason Wang, David Courtney, Sang-oh Han, Songtao Li, Bryan R. Cullen, Nenad Bursac, and Dwight Koeberl. “Single Vector AAV Approach to Genome Editing in Pompe Disease.” In Molecular Therapy, 29:291–291, 2021.

Scholars@Duke

Saha, Krishanu, Erik J. Sontheimer, P. J. Brooks, Melinda R. Dwinell, Charles A. Gersbach, David R. Liu, Stephen A. Murray, et al. “The NIH Somatic Cell Genome Editing program.” Nature 592, no. 7853 (April 2021): 195–204. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03191-1.

PMID
33828315
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