Date(s) - 04/12/2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Virtual via Zoom
Title: Engineering stem cells to understand human tissue development and disease
Abstract: The Musah Lab aim to understand how molecular and biophysical cues can function either synergistically or independently to guide organ development and function, and how these processes can be therapeutically harnessed to treat human disease. Research in our laboratory covers a range of interests, from fundamental studies of stem cell and tissue differentiation to engineered devices for clinical diagnostics and therapeutics. A major effort in our lab is focused on understanding the roles of molecular and biophysical cues in human organ development and how these processes can be applied to understand disease mechanisms and develop new therapeutic strategies. We develop differentiation methods by the identification and optimization of multiple, synergistic factors within the stem cell niche to guide organ-specific cell lineage specification. To engineer in vitro models of human tissues and organs, we integrate our stem cell differentiation strategies with microfluidic systems engineering, hydrogel synthesis, biofunctionalization, and three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting technologies to build dynamic circuits with living cells. Our interdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, and clinicians use ideas and approaches spanning stem cell and developmental biology, biophysics, microengineering, chemistry, medicine, genome engineering, and computational/mathematical modeling of complex biological problems.
Short Bio: Dr. Samira Musah is a stem cell biologist and a medical bioengineer. Her work has focused on the development of novel methods to direct the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells and engineering of microphysiological systems, including organs-on-chips and bioactive materials. She was recruited to Duke University with a joint appointment in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Medicine. She is also a Duke MEDx Investigator and an Affiliated Faculty of the Regeneration Next Initiative. Research in her laboratory aims to understand the roles of molecular and biophysical cues in human organ development and how these processes can be harnessed to understand disease mechanisms and develop new therapeutic strategies. Her lab develops differentiation methods by identifying and optimizing multiple factors within the stem cell niche to guide organ-specific lineage commitment. To engineer in vitro models of human tissues and organs, her team integrates their stem cell differentiation strategies with microfluidic systems, hydrogel synthesis, biofunctionalization, and 3D bioprinting technologies. Dr. Musah is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Whitehead Scholarship in Biomedical Research, Baxter’s Young Investigator Award (top tier), Keystone Symposia Fellowship, Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard Medical School, Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Transition Award, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research Award, and was named a Rising Star in Biomedical Engineering at MIT.