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Dr. Badylak
Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD
Professor of Surgery
 

Professor
(2003—present)
Dept. of Surgery University of Pittsburgh

Deputy Director
(2003—present)
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Director
(2003—present)
McGowan Center for Preclinical Studies

TERMIS President
(2010—2012)

DVM
Purdue University (1976)

MS
Purdue University Clinical Pathology (1978)

PhD
Purdue University Anatomic Pathology (1981)

MD
Indiana University (1985)

Dr. Badylak is Deputy Director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Director of the Center for Preclinical Testing, and directs a laboratory focused upon the use of biologic scaffolds composed of extracellular matrix (ECM) to facilitate functional tissue and organ reconstruction. Dr. Badylak is the past President of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS), the author of more than 300 peer reviewed publications, and holds more than 50 issued U.S. patents and 300 patents worldwide. Dr. Badylak is the editor of the textbook “Host Response to Biomaterials” (Academic Press, 2015) The focus of Dr. Badylak's work has been the mechanisms by which extracellular matrix signals host tissues to promote and support functional tissue reconstruction. Dr. Badylak places high emphasis upon clinical translation of all activities in the laboratory and work conducted within the laboratory spans the full spectrum from basic science at the subcellular level to patient care at the bed side.
Research Faculty and Staff
Janet Reing, MS
Janet Reing is a research scientist in the Badylak Laboratory. With a background in cell and molecular biology, she participates in a variety of projects related to ECM properties and cell-ECM interactions, and is particularly interested in biologic properties of the molecules that are released during degradation of the ECM.
Scott Johnson, MS
Scott Johnson is a research scientist in the Badylak laboratory. He received his Master's degree from Bowling Green State University studying Evolutionary Biology. Scott participates in a broad array of project involving customized ECM devices, cell culture, and preclinical studies. He is particularly involved in the limb and digit reconstruction project funded by the Defense Department.
Brian Sicari, PhD
Brian Sicari is a research assistant professor in the Badylak laboratory. He is examining the ability of surgically placed biologic scaffolds composed of ECM to augment the endogenous tissue injury response. Brian is especially interested in the ability of degradation products of ECM to promote immune modulation and how a modulated immune response affects the tissue remodeling process, including progenitor cell activity. Brian received his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine in 2013.
Neill Turner, BSc, PhD
Neill Turner is a research assistant professor in the Badylak laboratory. He is investigating the role of decellularized extracellular matrix in limb and muscle regeneration. He has extensive experience studying vascular biology and cardiovascular tissue engineering. Neill's particular interest is in the role dynamic forces play in the control of cell differentiation and cellular recruitment to sites of injury. Neill completed his doctorate at the UK Centre for Tissue Engineering at the University of Manchester. Here, he investigated how cyclic stretching mediates differentiation of adult progenitor cells down smooth muscle, osteogenic and adipogenic lineages. In addition, Neill investigated the endothelialization of artificial vascular grafts and the effects of extracellular matrix substrata and shear stress on endothelial cell attachment and retention, leading to the development of a type VIII collagen-coated, endothelialized polyurethane graft.
Li Zhang, MD, MS
Li Zhang is a research scientist in the Badylak Laboratory. She graduated from Beijing Medical University in China. She is involved in a variety of projects to study cell compatibility on ECM and is particularly involved in the whole organ engineering - especially the whole liver extracellular matrix scaffolds as a potential replacement for liver transplant.
Post Doctoral Fellows
Alessandra Costa, PhD
Alessandra Costa received the PhD at Sapienza University of Rome. Her research was focused on two topics: i) exploiting Vasopressin signaling in muscular atrophy and dystrophies and ii) skeletal muscle tissue engineering based on the use of a decellularized scaffold for whole muscle reconstruction. Alessandra is interested in the immunomodulatory, chemotactic and mitogenic potential of the ECM-derived scaffolds. Interactions host-biological scaffold (i.e. immune response, tissue remodeling and repair), in particular for musculoskeletal tissue, and the study of ECM-derived scaffold mechanical properties are additional research interests.
Luai Huleihel, PhD
Luai Huleihel received his PhD from Ben-Gurion University – Israel. His training was done at the University of Pittsburgh where he studied the involvement of miRNAs (let-7d and miR-30b in particular) and hMSCs in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and EMT. Luai is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of ECM induced constructive remodeling, specifically in examining the role of miRNAs and exosomes involvement in the remodeling response and the effect on macrophage polarization. He is also investigating the direct effect of ECM on macrophage polarization with the extended goal of identifying molecular targets to bias polarization.
George Hussey, PhD
George Hussey is a postdoctoral fellow in the Badylak laboratory. George completed his doctoral training at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute where he focused on the identification of a novel post-transcriptional mechanism regulating tumorigenesis and metastasis at the translational elongation stage of protein biosynthesis. He is currently investigating the role of the extracellular matrix in tissue homeostasis and tumorigenesis. His research interests involve the development of matrix-based culture systems and tissue engineering platforms as organotypic models of tumorigenesis with the aim of utilizing tissue engineering approaches towards cancer research.
Juan Diego Naranjo, MD
Juan Diego Naranjo originally visited the Badylak Laboratory in 2015 as an MD from Universidad de los Andes, Colombia for part of scholarly research. He returned the fall of 2015 for a post-doctoral fellowship. His research focuses on exploring the role of RNA in ECM and its effect on macrophage cellular response. He is also involved in projects related to exosome's role in ECM, macrophage polarization via different ECMs, and preclinical surgical models for abdominal wall defects and breast reconstruction.
Michelle Scarritt, PhD
Michelle Scarritt received her PhD from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA where she studied lung tissue engineering. Through her experience with lung decellularization and recellularization within bioreactors, Michelle now hopes to develop vascularization strategies for liver engineering applications. She is also interested in assessing the rate of ECM turnover during recellularization as a means of predicting clinical outcomes for porcine organ scaffolds.
Ilea Swinehart, PhD
Ilea Swinehart received her PhD from the University of Michigan where she studied the function of Hox genes in musculoskeletal development and fracture repair. Ilea is interested in understanding the mechanisms of ECM induced constructive remodeling, specifically in examining the progenitor cell populations that are involved in the remodeling response and the effect of immune modulation on the progenitor recruitment, proliferation, and differentiation. She is also investigating the effects of ECM on macrophage polarization and cell metabolism with the broad goal of identifying molecular targets to bias polarization.
Graduate Students
Jenna Dziki
Jenna Dziki is a doctoral student within the Bioengineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on the characterization of extracellular-matrix-mediated host innate immunomodulation and stem/progenitor cell activation. Specifically, Jenna is interested in macrophage polarization following ECM treatment in skeletal muscle and gut repair applications and the effects of polarized macrophages upon endogenous stem cell populations.
Tim Keane
Tim Keane is a graduate student in the Chemical Engineering department at the University of Pittsburgh. His research projects involve investigating the role of decellularized extracellular matrix in limb and muscle regeneration, specifically the tissue remodeling response to ECM that has been subjected to various degrees of decellularization.
Yoojin Lee
Yoojin Lee is a doctoral student in the Bioengineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests focus on investigating tissue homeostasis in the extracellular matrix during tumorigenesis, specifically through the biological functions of exosomes during tissue remodeling. Her aims are to apply tissue engineering towards cancer research.
Ricardo Londono
Ricardo Londono is an MD/PhD student in the program of Cellular and Molecular Pathology at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. His research focuses in two areas: 1. The characterization of the early immune and stem cell response to implanted biologic and synthetic biomaterials and 2. The development and implementation of multiple pre-clinical models for the study of mechanisms of biomaterial-mediated tissue repair. Such models include esophageal and breast reconstruction after neoplastic tissue resection and abdominal wall repair.
Catalina Pineda Molina
Catalina Pineda Molina is a doctoral student in the Bioengineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests are focused on the immune-modulatory effects of adipose derived stem cells used in combination with extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffolds for regenerative medicine applications.
Mark Murdock
Mark Murdock is a graduate student in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh. His research projects involve a collaboration with Dr. Kyle Orwig’s laboratory focused on improving reproductive therapies through use of ECM components and his doctoral work in determining the role of the glioma microenvironment in modulating brain-resident macrophages.
Lindsey Saldin
Lindsey Saldin is a doctoral student within the Bioengineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests focus on developing tissue-engineered models of cancer using ECM scaffolds, to investigate how normal, inflammatory, and neoplastic microenvironments regulate the progression of esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Undergraduate Students
Mohammad Al Haj Asad
2015
Mohammad Al Haj Asad is an undergraduate student in the University of Pittsburgh studying bioengineering with a concentration in Biomechanics. His current research includes examining the effect of host soft tissue on the remodeling of implanted ECM scaffolds, and the characteristics of hydrogel formation due to the introduction of sterilized ECM.
Brooke Arnold
2015
Brooke Arnold is an undergraduate at The University of Pittsburgh studying Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Cellular Engineering. Her research is currently focused on designing a hydrogel to promote the slow release of cell-derived exosomes, into a defected area, to encourage proper tissue remodeling and regeneration.
Riddhi Gandhi
2014-2015
Riddhi Gandhi is an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh studying bioengineering with a concentration in cellular and tissue engineering. She has prior research experience in a project related to excess collagen buildup in the left ventricular myocardium and the consequent impact of treatment with the drug Relaxin at the gene, protein, and functional levels. Her current research projects involve studying the body's immune response to implanted ECM bioscaffolds placed within sites of tissue injury.
Ross Giglio
2015-2016
Ross Giglio is an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh studying chemical engineering with an interest in bioengineering. His research focuses on immune responses to implanted hernia repair materials. In addition, he has looked into the mechanical properties of clinically relevant cardiovascular sealants.
Abigail Loneker
2014, 2015
Abigail Loneker is an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh studying bioengineering with a concentration in cellular and tissue engineering. Her current research interests are focused on engineering functional liver tissue by developing novel methods of seeding hepatic cells within a three dimensional scaffold composed of extracellular matrix.
Adam Smoulder
2015
Adam Smoulder is an undergraduate Bioengineering student at the University of Pittsburgh. His research is focused on host cell response and remodeling characteristics associated with biological scaffolding materials. Along with this, Adam also performs rheological analysis to determine how different terminal sterilization and digestion methods affect the gelation and stiffness properties of ECM hydrogels.
Eric Sobieski
2015
Eric Sobieski is an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh studying chemistry, with a concentration in biochemistry. He is researching the mucoadhesive properties of ECM hydrogels, focusing mainly on adhesion to colonic mucosa. Additionally, Eric is working on preclinical studies of an ECM hydrogel treatment for ulcerative colitis.
Administrative
Maria Alexander
(T) 412-624-5308
(F) 412-624-5256
(Email) alexanderm3@upmc.edu
Rachel Thomas Beckel
(T) 412-624-5252
(F) 412-624-5256
(Email) thomasre@upmc.edu
Visiting Scholars
Frederik Ceyssens
Frederik Ceyssens visited the Badylak Laboratory in 2013 as part of a research fellowship from FWO (The Research Foundation – Flanders, Belgium). His research investigated novel brain-computer interfaces in collaboration with KULeuven and the Gasthuisberg University Hospital, along with CNS tissue engineering.
Serhiy Forostyak
Dr. Forostyak received his Ph.D. degree from Charles University in Prague in 2012, was trained as a General Surgeon in 2005-2008, and received his M.D. in 2005 from Ternopil State Medical University. From 2009 to 2010 he was involved as a fellow into the Marie Curie Actions under the FP 6, CORTEX. During the course of his medical and postgraduate studies, Dr. Forostyak became very interested in neurodegenerative diseases and spinal cord injury. Currently, Dr. Forostyak is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Neuroscience of the Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and Charles University in Prague. His research interests are focused on the plasticity, neuroprotection and neuregeneration of the spinal cord after acute/chronic trauma or affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, using different types of stem cells and biomaterials, and translation of the results to clinics. The studies are performed in vivo using transgenic and knock-out animals, as well as different disease models like balloon induced compression lesion, hemisection, transection with stem cells and hydrogels transplantation. Dr. Forostyak visited Dr. Badylak’s laboratory in April 2013.
Sophie Hollands
Sophie Hollands visited the Badylak Laboratory in 2013 as part of a research rotation from her home institution of the University of Nice, France, Polytech’Nice Sophia Department. Her research in the Badylak lab centered on whole organ engineering.
Sarka Kubinova, PhD
Dr. Kubinova is a research scientist at the Institute of Experimental Medicine AS CR (Prague, Czech Republic), where she heads the Laboratory of Biomaterials and Biophysical Methods. Her research focuses on the development of new biomaterials for tissue repair, especially hydrogel scaffolds for spinal cord repair as well as nanofibers developed as carriers for cell transfer and drug delivery. In collaboration with Badylak Laboratories, she evaluates the application of extracellular matrix scaffolds from the central nervous system in the treatment of spinal cord injury.
Kristen Jones, MD
Dr. Jones conducted research in the Badylak Laboratory July 2011 through March 2012 as a 5th year neurosurgery resident at UPMC. Her research concentrated on the clinical translation of in vivo research investigating the use of ECM bioscaffolds in the repair of CNS tissue (e.g., brain and spinal cord). She focused on the modulation of the macrophage response to promote tissue remodeling.
Alejandro Nieponice, MD, PhD
Alejandro Nieponice is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and a faculty member of the McGowan Institute. With his background as a esophageal surgeon, his primary research interest is the clinical translation of ECM technologies for esophageal applications. As part of that effort he participates in the design and execution of several pre-clinical studies in the Badylak laboratories to evaluate novel applications of biomaterials.
Maria Quidgley-Martin
Maria Quidgley-Martin is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and obtained her Bachelor's degree in 2012 from the University of Florida. She is currently a medical student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She is pursuing her Scholarly Project in the Badylak lab, studying the macrophage polarization profile in response to normal, metaplastic, and neoplastic esophageal extracellular matrix.
Theresa Rausch
Theresa Rausch is a graduate student in the Transnational University Limburg of Belgium studying Biomedical Sciences, specialized in Clinical Molecular Sciences. Her current research includes examining the effect of miRNAs and exosomes on the remodeling of implanted ECM scaffolds, and the characteristics of macrophage polarization with the extended goal to notify molecular targets to bias polarization.
Mike Sawkins
Mike Sawkins visited the Badylak Laboratory the University of Nottingham in 2010. His work focused on injectable delivery systems which can precisely control both the spatial and temporal profile of growth factor presentation.
Abiraman Srinivasan, M.Phil, PhD
Dr. Srinivasan performed research in the Badylak Lab from 2012 – 2013. During this time, he investigated the mechanism of ECM peptide interaction with perivascular stem cells using click conjugation chemistry. He also worked with ECM gels to understand perivascular stem cell response to 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional seeding and their differentiation properties under static and dynamic conditions in vitro.
Francesca Torri
Francesca Torri is a visiting scholar pursuing her Master’s Degree in Medical Biotechnologies at University of Piemonte Orientale, in Novara (Italy). Francesca received her Bachelors in Biological Sciences at the University of Milano. She is currently part of an internship at the Laboratory of Morphological Science, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials, with a thesis concerning the development of biological substitutes derived from bovine pericardium and porcine carotids enriched with bioactive molecules. This approach would improve the biological characteristics of these substitutes, in order to optimize the tissue regeneration after the surgeries. In Dr. Badylak’s lab, she is involved in the Vascular ECM project, evaluating biological, structural and mechanical properties of the samples, before and after the implantation into animal model.
Lisa White, PhD
Dr. White is visiting the Badylak Laboratory as part of her post doctoral fellowship at the University of Nottingham. Her collaborative research, which will span 15 months in total, focuses on the use of extracellular matrices, synthetic materials and growth factors to achieve bone regeneration. Lisa was awarded a European Union Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship to develop a novel decellularization technology for application in whole bones.
Jian (Timothy) Zhang, MD, PhD
Dr. Zhang visited the Badylak Laboratory in 2012 an Attending Surgeon and Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Department of General Surgery at Shanghai Changzheng Hospital, affiliated to the Second Military Medical University. His clinical field is abdominal wall reconstructive surgery and digestive surgery. Dr. Zhang's research interests include: Regenerative Medicine for soft tissue, such as fascia, skeletal muscle; Clinical application and modification of biological mesh.
Rotating Students
Joseph Bartolacci
Joseph Bartolacci is an MD candidate from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia spending the summer in the Badylak Laboratory. His research focuses on exploring the effects of extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation products on macrophage phenotypes. He is also involved in projects related to the effects of exosomes in ECM.
Colin Beckwitt
Colin Beckwitt, a recent graduate of MIT's Biological Engineering department, rotated in Dr. Badylak’s lab in 2013 as a first year student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focused on investigating the effects of blocking the surface antigen CD47 on hepatocyte growth and survival and measuring the phagocytosis of polarized macrophages.
Mike Calderon
Mike Calderon rotated with the Badylak Lab in 2014 as a first year doctoral student within the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program (IBGP) in the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine. He investigated the effects in vivo ECM degradation products on macrophages and progenitor cells.
Arthur Castleton
2014, 2015
Arthur Castleton is a BYU undergraduate chemical engineering student. He researches how ECMs derived from different source tissues influence cell migration, proliferation and differentiation, and what effect different processing methods have on the bioactive properties of these ECM scaffolds.
Jeremy Gale
Jeremy Gale rotated in the Badylak Lab in 2013 as a first year student in the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program (IBGP). His research focused on using macrophages as an indicator of the biocompatibilty of implantable materials and the molecular basis of esophageal stricture.
Brian Kolich
Brian Kolich rotated in the Badylak Laboratory as a summer student in 2015. His research involved the mechanical properties of implanted urinary bladder matrix devices, neural and microglial cell migration into UBM hydrogels, and the use of ECM gel for the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Zain Mehdi
2015
Zain Mehdi is a High School Senior at North Allegheny and UPCI Summer Scholar/and UPCI Volunteer in the lab. His research is focused on Role of Extracellular Matrix and macrophages on Glioblastoma progression.
Nyla Naim
Nyla Naim rotated with the Badylak Lab in 2013 as a doctoral student within the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focused on the effect of the extracellular matrix on macrophage phenotype.
Prashanti Patil
Prashanti Patil rotated in the Badylak Lab in 2013 as a doctoral student within the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focused on examining the gene expression of whole liver extracellular matrix scaffolds following recellularization.
Divya Raghu
Divya Raghu is currently a 3rd year Cell and Developmental Biology student at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research deals with characterization of human glioma tumor-derived extracellular matrix and its effect on the behavior and properties of neural stem cells. She hopes to exploit the concept of dynamic reciprocity to help create acellular or cellular therapies for these brain tumors.
Kendra Sayles
Kendra Sayles rotated in the Badylak Laboratory in 2014 and 2015 as a doctoral student in the School of Nursing at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research investigated the recellularization of whole rat liver ECMs in a bioreactor environment.
Nick Siebenlist
Nicholas Siebenlist rotated with the Badylak Lab in 2014 as a medical student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focused upon the epimorphic regenerative properties of extracellular matrices upon multipotent cell subsets and the role of the immune response in the regenerative process.
Derek Wang
Derek Wang is a Materials Science and Engineering major at Stanford. His research concerns macrophages and skeletal muscle.
PhD Graduates
Hui, S.
2000
Evaluation of the Effect of Small Intestinal Submucosa on the Remodeling of Patellar Tendon Donor Sites in a Canine Model
Tengood, J.
2004–2006
Pancreatic Extracellular Matrix as a Substrate for Islet Cell Differentiation and Growth
Gilbert, T.
1998–2006
In Vitro Remodeling of ECM Scaffolds by Fibroblasts and the Effect of Mechanical Loading
Sellaro, T.
2003–2008
Liver Derived ECM for Hepatic Tissue Engineering
Freytes, D.
2003–2008
ECM Gels as Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering
Valentin, J.
2003–2009
Macrophage Involvement in the Remodeling of ECM Scaffolds
Brennan E.
2004–2009
Biologically Active Degradation Products of Mammalian Extracellular Matrix
Brown, B.
2006–2010
ECM Scaffolds and Macrophage Polarization-Induced Tissue Remodeling
Wainwright, J.
2006–2010
Cardiac Extracellular Matrix as a Scaffold for Myocardial Repair & Reconstruction
Agrawal, V.
2003–2011
ECM Degradation, Matricryptic Peptides, and Stem Cell Recruitment
Carruthers, C.
2007–2013
Tissue and whole organ decellularization: an evaluation of cytocompatibility and mechanics
Medberry, C.
2008–2013
Central Nervous system Extracellular Matrix as a Therapeutic Bioscaffold for Central Nervous System Injury
Sicari, B.
2009–2013
Constructive Tissue Remodeling by Extracellular Matrix Bioscaffolds within the Aging Skeletal Muscle Microenvironment
Wolf, M.
2008–2013
The Influence of Tissue Specific Cardiac and Skeletal Muscle Extracellular Matrix on Muscle Remodeling
Londono, R.
2008–2015
Mechanisms of Biomaterial-Mediated Esophageal Repair
Faulk, D.
2010–2015
Engineering Functional Liver Tissue with Three Dimensional Scaffolds Composed of Liver Extracellular Matrix
Previous Post-Doctoral Fellows
Jack Debes
1995
Post Doctoral Fellow, Director of Research, Mechanical Testing of Biomaterials
Tim McPherson
Dec 1995-May 1997
Post Doctoral Fellow
Annie Liang
Dec 1997-Feb 1999
Post Doctoral Fellow
Julie Myers-Irvin
July 2005-2007
Post Doctoral Fellow
Annie Lee
2005-2007
Post Doctoral Fellow
Allison Beattie
Nov 2006–2008
Post Doctoral Fellow
Alan Boruch
July 2007–June 2009
Post Doctoral Fellow
Neill Turner
Aug 2007-2010
Post Doctoral Fellow
Kerry Daly
July 2008–2011
Post Doctoral Fellow
Alex Huber
Apr 2009-Dec 2011
Post Doctoral Fellow
Brandon Reines
June 2009–2010
Post Doctoral Fellow
Peter Crapo
March 2010–2012
Post Doctoral Fellow
Jeremy Kelly
Oct 2010–Sept 2012
Post Doctoral Fellow
Christopher Dearth
July 2011–2013
Post Doctoral Fellow
Elizabeth Kollar
Oct 2011-June 2013
Post Doctoral Fellow
Marc Hansel
June 2011–Mar 2012
Post Doctoral Fellow
Fan-Wei Meng
June 2012 –2014
Post Doctoral Fellow
Peter Slivka
Sept 2012 – Oct 2014
Post Doctoral Fellow

Team Photo

Badylak team 2016

Updated 22-Jun-2016