At the Bursac lab, Anuj is working on engineering muscle cells by differentiating human iPSCs (as well as primary cells) into cardiac and skeletal tissue. These cells generate forces that model actual human tissue, which is pretty cool! In one of our core BME classes, we did a lot of work with muscle cells, action potentials, various muscle models (i.e Hill’s model), and a myriad of other things related to the work of Bursac lab. What gets me the most, though, is that this is Tissue Engineering. Can you imagine scientists growing an arm for you (well, not really, but really)? Vasculature, muscle, skin grafts, and even organs can be replicated! You name it (cue Thanksgiving grandma song)!
Anuj will also look into co-culturing endothelial cells & skeletal tissue together to better model human tissue. Another side project will study the use of Apelin 13, a peptide expressed largely in the heart, liver, and kidneys, and may have an angiogenic effect on vasculature. The lab is studying Apelin 13’s impact on endothelial and muscle cells, as well as its role on the cardiovascular system. Of course, the Engineer says that they liked an Engineer’s presentation the most! I mean, he speaks my language…To take second place, James Zheng’s research on the antiviral lectin GriffiThsin’s role in recognizing the spike proteins on the COVID-19 virus takes the cake for me. He’s also an Engineer. Maybe I listen harder to those who endure the struggles of P-reqs? Nonetheless, it was a great joy to listen to everyone’s chalk talk and find out more about their research. I’ll look forward to the poster presentations!