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 in Cell Biology
  • Assistant Professor in Medicine
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
  • Affiliate of the Duke Regeneration Center

Contact Information


  • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin - 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

  • Genentech Research Award. Genentech. 2021
  • George O’Brien Kidney Center Pilot Grant. The George M. O'Brien Kidney Translational Core Center at the University of Michigan (P30 DK081943) . 2021
  • Featured, "Women to Watch" series on RegMedNet. RegMedNet. 2021
  • Functional & Molecular Genomics Core Facility Voucher Program Award. Duke University. 2020
  • Whitehead Scholarship in Biomedical Research. Whitehead Foundation. 2020
  • 100 inspiring black scientists in America. Cell Press, Cell Mentor. 2020
  • MEDx (Medicine & Engineering) Biomechanics of Injury and Injury Repair Grant. Duke MEDx Initiative. 2020
  • Duke Incubation Fund. Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative. 2020
  • 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 493: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 494: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 790: Advanced Topics for Graduate Students in Biomedical Engineering
  • BME 791: Graduate Independent Study
  • BME 792: Continuation of Graduate Independent Study
  • EGR 393: Research Projects in Engineering

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Musah, S, Uncovering SARS-CoV-2 kidney tropism., Nature Reviews. Molecular Cell Biology, vol 22 no. 8 (2021) [10.1038/s41580-021-00370-w] [abs].
  • , Introductions to the Community: Early-Career Researchers in the Time of COVID-19., Cell Stem Cell, vol 27 no. 2 (2020), pp. 200-201 [10.1016/j.stem.2020.07.016] [abs].
  • Burt, M; Bhattachaya, R; Okafor, AE; Musah, S, Guided Differentiation of Mature Kidney Podocytes from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Under Chemically Defined Conditions., Journal of Visualized Experiments : Jove no. 161 (2020) [10.3791/61299] [abs].
  • Musah, S; Dimitrakakis, N; Camacho, DM; Church, GM; Ingber, DE, Directed differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells into mature kidney podocytes and establishment of a Glomerulus Chip., Nature Protocols, vol 13 no. 7 (2018), pp. 1662-1685 [10.1038/s41596-018-0007-8] [abs].
  • Musah, S; Mammoto, A; Ferrante, TC; Jeanty, SSF; Hirano-Kobayashi, M; Mammoto, T; Roberts, K; Chung, S; Novak, R; Ingram, M; Fatanat-Didar, T; Koshy, S; Weaver, JC; Church, GM; Ingber, DE, Mature induced-pluripotent-stem-cell-derived human podocytes reconstitute kidney glomerular-capillary-wall function on a chip., Nature Biomedical Engineering, vol 1 (2017) [10.1038/s41551-017-0069] [abs].