Nenad Bursac

Image of Nenad Bursac

Rooney Family Associate Professor of Biomedical 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 Biomedical Engineering
  • Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Associate Professor in Medicine
Contact Information:
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

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 507: Cardiovascular System Engineering, Disease and Therapy (GE, BB, EL)
  • BME 578: Quantitative Cell and Tissue Engineering (GE, BB, MC)
  • BME 590: Advanced Topics in Biomedical Engineering
  • ECE 391: Undergraduate Research in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • GLHLTH 393: Research Independent Study in Global Health
  • NEUROSCI 301L: Bioelectricity (AC or GE)

Representative Publications: (More Publications)
    • D. M. Pedrotty and R. Y. Klinger and R. D. Kirkton and N. Bursac, Cardiac fibroblast paracrine factors alter impulse conduction and ion channel expression of neonatal rat cardiomyocytes, Cardiovascular Research, vol 83 no. 4 (2009), pp. 688 -- 697 [abs].
    • L. C. Mcspadden and R. D. Kirkton and N. Bursac, Electrotonic loading of anisotropic cardiac monolayers by unexcitable cells depends on connexin type and expression level, American Journal Of Physiology-cell Physiology, vol 297 no. 2 (2009), pp. C339 -- C351 [abs].
    • N. Badie and N. Bursac, Novel Micropatterned Cardiac Cell Cultures with Realistic Ventricular Microstructure, Biophysical Journal, vol 96 no. 9 (2009), pp. 3873 -- 3885 [abs].
    • W. N. Bian and N. Bursac, Engineered skeletal muscle tissue networks with controllable architecture, Biomaterials, vol 30 no. 7 (2009), pp. 1401 -- 1412 [abs].
    • N. Badle and N. Bursac, Micropatterned Ventricular Slice: Role of Realistic Tissue Microstructure In Impulse Conduction, Circulation, vol 118 no. 18 (2008), pp. S493 -- S493.