Nenad Bursac

Image of Nenad Bursac

Rooney Family Associate Professor of Bioengineering in the Edmund T. Pratt Jr. School of Engineering

Bursac's research interests include adult and embryonic 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.

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.

Appointments and Affiliations
  • Rooney Family Associate Professor of Bioengineering in the Edmund T. Pratt Jr. School of Engineering
  • Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Associate Professor in Medicine
Contact Information:
  • Office Location: Ciemas 1141, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5510
  • Email Address: nenad.bursac@duke.edu
  • Web Page:
Education:

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

Research Interests:

Bursac's research interests include 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.

Specialties:

Tissue Repair, Tissue Engineering
Heart, Electrophysiology
Cardiovascular

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions:

  • Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University, Biomedical Engineering, 2000-2002
  • Honorably Mentioned Finalist, National Association for Sport & Physical Education, 2002
  • Merit Award, Biomedical Engineering Society, 2002
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Heart Association, 2000-2002
  • Scientist Development Grant, American Heart Association, 2005-2008
  • Trainee Abstract Grant, American Heart Association, 2002

Courses Taught:
  • BME 301L: Bioelectricity (AC or GE)
  • BME 394: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 493: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 494: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 578: Quantitative Cell and Tissue Engineering (GE, BB, MC)
  • BME 578: Tissue Engineering (GE, MC)
  • BME 590: Advanced Topics in Biomedical Engineering
  • BME 590: Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering
  • BME 899: Special Readings in Biomedical Engineering
  • GLHLTH 393: Research Independent Study in Global Health
  • NEUROSCI 301L: Bioelectricity (AC or GE)

Representative Publications: (More Publications)
    • Rangarajan, S; Madden, L; Bursac, N, Use of flow, electrical, and mechanical stimulation to promote engineering of striated muscles., Annals of Biomedical Engineering, vol 42 no. 7 (2014), pp. 1391-1405 [10.1007/s10439-013-0966-4] [abs].
    • Farah, BL; Madden, L; Li, S; Nance, S; Bird, A; Bursac, N; Yen, PM; Young, SP; Koeberl, DD, Adjunctive β2-agonist treatment reduces glycogen independently of receptor-mediated acid α-glucosidase uptake in the limb muscles of mice with Pompe disease., The FASEB Journal, vol 28 no. 5 (2014), pp. 2272-2280 [10.1096/fj.13-244202] [abs].
    • Bian, W; Badie, N; Himel, HD; Bursac, N, Robust T-tubulation and maturation of cardiomyocytes using tissue-engineered epicardial mimetics., Biomaterials, vol 35 no. 12 (2014), pp. 3819-3828 [10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.01.045] [abs].
    • Juhas, M; Engelmayr, GC; Fontanella, AN; Palmer, GM; Bursac, N, Biomimetic engineered muscle with capacity for vascular integration and functional maturation in vivo., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, vol 111 no. 15 (2014), pp. 5508-5513 [10.1073/pnas.1402723111] [abs].
    • Kirkton, RD; Badie, N; Bursac, N, Spatial profiles of electrical mismatch determine vulnerability to conduction failure across a host-donor cell interface., Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, vol 6 no. 6 (2013), pp. 1200-1207 [10.1161/CIRCEP.113.001050] [abs].