Dr. Nenad Bursac is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Cell Biology, and Medicine at Duke University and one of the leaders in cardiac and skeletal muscle tissue engineering fields. In 1999, as a member of Dr. Robert Langer’ group at MIT, he demonstrated first engineering of functional cardiac tissues using mammalian heart cells. His postdoctoral research with Dr. Leslie Tung at Johns Hopkins University involved the development of new methods to control architecture and function of 2- and 3-dimensional cardiac tissue cultures for studies of cardiac arrhythmias. Currently, Dr. Bursac's research involves use of cell, tissue, and genetic engineering techniques and electrophysiological and biomechanical studies to advance fields of somatic and stem cell based therapies for cardiac and skeletal muscle disease.
For the last 20 years, Dr. Bursac’s work has continued to push the boundaries of the field by demonstrating a number of “firsts”, including: the first use of bioreactors for functional cardiac tissue engineering; the first studies of electrophysiology and arrhythmias in engineered heart tissues; the first engineering of anisotropic cardiac tissue patch and methods to control patch anisotropy; the most functionally advanced mouse cardiac tissue patch; the first engineering of large, clinically relevant size, highly functional cardiac tissues from human pluripotent stem cells; first engineering of functional human skeletal muscle tissues from primary and pluripotent stem cells; and first engineering of biosynthetic excitable cells and tissues for studies and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure.
Dr. Bursac has authored more than 100 scientific manuscripts, presented over 120 invited talks, and has mentored more than 30 PhD students and postdoctoral and medical fellows. He co-directs Regeneration Next Initiative at Duke University. He is a recipient of the Stansell Family Distinguished Research Award, Mendel Center Award, and Stem Cell Innovation Award. In 2014, Dr. Bursac was the president of the North Carolina Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Society. Since 2015, Dr. Bursac has been a Fellow of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He has served on various NIH grant review panels and is a member of editorial boards of Nature Scientific Reports and NPJ Regenerative Medicine.