Samira Musah


Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering

The Musah Lab is interested in understanding how molecular signals and biophysical forces can function either synergistically or independently to guide organ development and physiology, and how these processes can be therapeutically harnessed to treat human disease. Given the escalating medical crisis in nephrology as growing number of patients suffer from kidney disease that can lead to organ failure, the Musah Lab focuses on engineering stem cell fate for applications in human kidney disease, extra-renal complications, and therapeutic development. Dr. Musah’s research interests include stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, molecular and cellular basis of human organ development and disease progression, organ engineering, patient-specific disease models, biomarker identification, therapeutic discovery, tissue and organ transplantation, microphysiological systems including Organ Chips (organs-on-chips) and organoids, matrix biology, mechanotransduction and disease biophysics.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Assistant Professor - Track V in Medicine
  • Affiliate of the Regeneration Next Initiative

Contact Information


  • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2013

Research Interests

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), disease mechanisms, regenerative medicine, molecular and cellular basis of human kidney development and disease, organ engineering, patient-specific disease models, biomarkers, therapeutic discovery, tissue and organ transplantation, microphysiological systems including organs-on-chips and organoids, matrix biology, mechanotransduction, mechanobiology, and disease biophysics.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Chair's Research Award. Department of Medicine, Duke University. 2019
  • Dr. Samuel M. Nabrit Early Career Scholar. Brown University. 2019
  • Early Career Investigator Travel Award. Keystone Symposia. 2019
  • CPRIT Scholar. Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas. 2018
  • Baxter Young Investigator Award, First-Tier. Baxter International Inc.. 2017
  • Fellow. Keystone Symposia Fellowship. 2017
  • MIT Rising Stars in Biomedical Engineering and Science. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2016
  • NIH/NIDDK Nephrology Research Fellowship. NIH-BIDMC . 2016
  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund Postdoctoral Enrichment Fellowship. Burroughs Wellcome Fund. 2015
  • Dean's Postdoctoral Fellowship. Harvard University. 2014
  • First Prize, Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research Postdoctoral Award. Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research. 2014
  • UNCF-Merck Postdoctoral Science Research Fellowship. UNCF & Merck Foundation. 2014
  • NIH Chemical-Biology Interface Training Grant. NIH. 2011
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. NSF. 2007

Courses Taught

  • BME 790: Advanced Topics for Graduate Students in Biomedical Engineering
  • BME 791: Graduate Independent Study
  • EGR 393: Research Projects in Engineering

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Samira Musah, Nikolaos Dimitrakakis, Diogo M. Camacho, George M. Church, Donald E. Ingber, “Directed differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells into mature kidney podocytes and establishment of a Glomerulus Chip,” Nature Protocols, DOI: 10.1038/s41596-018-0007-8, 2018
  • Samira Musah, Akiko Mammoto, Thomas C. Ferrante, Sauveur S. F. Jeanty, Mariko Hirano-Kobayashi, Tadanori Mammoto, Kristen Roberts, Seyoon Chung, Richard Novak, Miles Ingram, Tohid Fatanat-Didar, Sandeep Koshy, James C. Weaver, George M. Church, Donald E. Ingber, “Mature induced-pluripotent-stem-cell-derived human podocytes reconstitute kidney glomerular capillary wall function on a chip,” Nature Biomedical Engineering, DOI:10.1038/s41551-017-0069, 2017
  • Kambez H. Benam, Stephanie Dauth, Bryan Hussell, Anna Herland, Abhishek Jain, Kyung-Jin Jang, Katia Karalis, Hyun Jung Kim, Luke MacQueen, Roza Mahmoodian, Samira Musah, Yu-suke Torisawa, Andries D. van der Meer, Remi Villenave, Moran Yadid, Kevin K. Parker, and Donald E. Ingber, “Engineered In Vitro Disease Models,” Annual Review of Pathology: Mechanism of Disease, DOI:10.1146/annurev-pathol-012414-040418, 2015
  • Samira Musah, Paul J. Wrighton, Yefim Zaltsman, Xiaofen Zhong, Stefan Zorn, Mathew B. Parlato, Cheston Hsiano, Sean P. Palecek, Qiang Chang, William L. Murphy and Laura L. Kiessling, “Substratum-Induced Differentiation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Reveals the Coactivator YAP is a Potent Regulator of Neuronal Specification,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1415330111, 2014
  • Samira Musah, Stephen Morin, Paul J. Wrighton, Daniel B. Zwick, Song Jin and Laura Kiessling, “Glycosaminoglycan-Binding Hydrogels  Enable Mechanical Control of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Self-Renewal,” ACS Nano, DOI: 10.1021/nn3039148, 2012
  • Ratmir Derda, Samira Musah, Brendan P. Orner, Joseph Klim, Lingyin Li and Laura L. Kiessling, “ High-throughput Discovery of Synthetic Surfaces that Support Proliferation of Pluripotent Cells,”  Journal of the American Chemical Society, DOI: 10.1021/ja906089g, 2010
  • Samuel N. Kikandi, Samira Musah, Kyoungyu Lee, John Hassani, Shawn Rajan, Ailing Zhou and Omowunmi A. Sadik, “Comparative Studies of Quercetin Interactions with Monophosphate Nucleotides using UV-Vis Spectroscopy and Electrochemical Techniques,” Electroanalysis, DOI: 10.1002/elan.200703954, 2007