Nenad Bursac, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2015
For outstanding contributions to the fields of somatic- and stem cell-based therapies for cardiac and skeletal muscle disease

Cancer Mutation That Spurs Cell Division Helps Heart Models Run at Full Gallop

Via Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News | January 25, 2024

A broken heart will mend over time. However, this isn’t the case for heart tissue following a heart attack. While skin and many other tissues of the body retain the ability to repair themselves after injury, the heart lacks this ability. Heart cells rapidly divide during embryonic and fetal development to form cardiac tissue and the myocardium. However, when heart cells mature in adulthood, they reach a terminal state where they can no longer divide.

Repairing cardiac muscle after a heart attack is at the forefront of heart research, and researchers have been investigating ways to persuade heart muscle cells to regenerate. Now, biomedical engineers at Duke have developed a novel strategy from an unlikely place—cancer… Continue reading.

Gene Therapy for Heart Disease

Via Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News | February 7, 2022

One possible treatment option for cardiac arrhythmias are approaches that enhance electrical excitability and action potential conduction in the heart. One way this could be done is by stably overexpressing mammalian voltage-gated sodium channels. However, the channels’ large size precludes delivery via viral vectors.

Now, researchers have demonstrated a gene therapy that helps heart muscle cells electrically activate in live mice. The first demonstration of its kind, the approach features engineered bacterial genes that code for sodium ion channels and could lead to therapies to treat a wide variety of electrical heart diseases and disorders… Continue reading.

Nenad Bursac, Ph.D. To be Inducted into Medical and Biological Engineering Elite

Via AIMBE | March 5, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the pending induction of Nenad Bursac, Ph.D., Rooney Family Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Cardiology, Biomedical Engineering/Division of Cardiology, Duke University, to its College of Fellows. Dr. Bursac was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows For outstanding contributions to the fields of somatic- and stem cell-based therapies for cardiac and skeletal muscle disease.

Duke Researchers Hail Breakthrough After Growing Muscle Tissue in Lab

Via Time | January 14, 2015

Scientists at Duke University announced this week that human skeletal muscle has been successfully grown in the laboratory that is able to react to stimuli just like native tissue.

The lab-grown muscle will allow researchers to study the effects that drugs and disease have on muscle tissue without having to endanger the health of a potential patient, reports Science Daily.

“The beauty of this work is that it can serve as a test bed for clinical trials in a dish,” says Nenad Bursac, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Duke University.

Bursac said the development would hopefully allow doctors to begin prescribing personalized medicine to patients in the future.

“We can take a biopsy from each patient, grow many new muscles to use as test samples and experiment to see which drugs would work best for each person,” he explained.