Home | Research Team
Stephen Badylak, DVM., PhD, MD.
Professor of Surgery
Dept. of Surgery University of Pittsburgh
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
McGowan Center for Preclinical Studies
Purdue University (1976)
Purdue University Clinical Pathology (1978)
Purdue University Anatomic Pathology (1981)
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 regeneration. Dr. Badylak is the immediate President-past of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society, the author of more than 275 peer reviewed publications, and holds more than 50 issued U.S. patents and 300 patents worldwide. 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.
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.
Li Zhang, MD, MS
Li Zhang graduated from Beijing Medical University from China, have many years experience in biomedical research field, joined Dr. Badylak's lab in 2006
Christopher L. Dearth, PhD
Christopher Dearth is investigating the use of biologic scaffolds composed of extracellular matrix to facilitate regeneration of muscluotendinous tissue for regenerative medicine applications. He is particularly interested in understanding the mechanism(s) by which biomaterials modulate the cellular phenotypes and functions of the host immune response and progenitor cell populations during tissue regeneration. Christopher received a Ph.D. from The University of Toledo where his doctoral research demonstrated that skeletal muscle cells express immunologically relevant adhesion molecules following mechanical stimuli; which serves as a novel mechanism by which myeloid cells communicate with and augment the function of skeletal muscle cells.
Marc Hansel, PhD
Marc Hansel received his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine in the winter of 2012. His doctoral research investigated the use of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) derived from adult and fetal hepatocytes for the study and treatment of liver metabolic diseases. He joined the Badylak lab to specifically train members of the whole organ liver engineering team on all aspects of hiPSC culture and differentiation towards the hepatic lineage. The short term goal of his project is to investigate various endoderm-derived ECMs and test their ability to help differentiate hiPSCs to definitive endoderm. The long term goal is to differentiate the hiPSCs in vitro to functional hepatic parenchymal and non-parenchymal cells and deliver them into a 3-dimenstional liver bioscaffold created by decellularization of porcine liver. This approach includes the immediate in-situ transplantation of the cell seeded scaffold into the recipient, providing the requisite perfusion and nutrition and appropriate microenvironmental cues necessary for liver regeneration. The pluripotent characteristics of the hiSPC lines allow for the fundamental concepts of this approach to also apply to other organs such as lung, kidney, heart and pancreas to treat end stage organ failure. The nature of hiPSC technology would also allow for patient-specific therapy without the need for immunosuppression.
Beth Kollar, DVM
Beth Kollar received her DVM at the University of California at Davis. She then completed at fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Comparative Medicine and a small animal internship at San Francisco Veterinary Specialists. Her current research in Dr. Badylak's lab focuses on the role of extracellular matrix in cell recruitment and how this can potentiate digit regeneration in the murine model. In addition to conducting her own research, Beth provides general surgical and veterinary support for other projects in the lab. Beth has a special interest in veterinary orthopedic medicine and surgery.
Fanwei Meng, PhD
Fanwei Meng received his PhD at the University of Utah where his doctoral research was developing aligned astrocyte ECM constructs for spinal cord injury repair. In Dr. Badylak's laboratory, Fanwei is studying the role of biological extracellular materials (ECM) in central nervous system (CNS) repair. In particular, Fanwei is interested in understanding how ECM could modulate the host innate immune response to facilitate the regeneration process. Fanwei is investigating the therapeutic potential of ECM in a number of CNS injury animal models. In addition, Fanwei is working on developing cell type specific ECM materials for peripheral nervous system regeneration.
Peter Slivka, PhD
Peter Slivka is currently fractionating partially digested extracellular matrix to identify components that influence the polarization of macrophages. His broader research interests include unraveling the molecular basis for macrophage polarization and identifying molecular targets to bias polarization. Peter received his PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder. His graduate research characterized important interactions between Toll-like Receptor 4 and MD-2. These studies established a novel method for inhibiting Toll-like Receptor 4 signaling by competing for its MD2 binding site. In addition, Peter also characterized the decay kinetics and molecular basis for the remarkable ultra-stability exhibited by bacterial chemosensory lattices.
Neill Turner, BSc., PhD
Neill Turner is investigating the role of decellularized extracellular matrix in limb and muscle regeneration. He has over 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.
Lisa Carey is a doctoral student in the Bioengineering department at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests are focused on limb regeneration in response to controlled delivery of extracellular matrix (ECM) products, as well as the role of immune response in tissue remodeling.
Christopher Carruthers is a doctoral student within the Bioengineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently investigating the topographic features and micromechanical properties of a biologic scaffold composed of extracellular matrix (ECM) derived from cardiac tissue for use in myocardial infarction repair
Denver Faulk is a Doctoral student within the Bioengineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh. His research is focused on investigating whole liver extracellular matrix scaffolds for engineering an implantable liver graft for patients with end-stage liver failure.
Tim Keane is an undergraduate 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.
Ricardo Londono is a graduate student in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh. His research is focused upon the properties and biologic activities of matricryptic peptides generated from scaffolds prepared from mammalian extracellular matrix (ECM) during the early events of tissue reconstruction and remodeling.
Christopher Medberry is a Doctoral student within the Bioengineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh. His current research interests include developing novel extracellular matrix scaffolds from the central nervous system for use in Traumatic Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury repair therapies.
Brian Sicari is an NIH Predoctoral Fellow within the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine and the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pathology. His research examines the ability of ECM scaffolds to mitigate age-related changes to the injured skeletal muscle microenvironment through increased progenitor cell recruitment and modulation of the host innate immune response. (new photo attached)
Matt Wolf is a doctoral student in the BioEngineering department at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently investigating the production, the physical characteristics, composition, and efficacy of an biologic scaffold composed of extracellular matrix (ECM) derived from skeletal muscle for regenerative medicine applications.
Jenna Dziki is an undergraduate student studying bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh with a concentration in medical devices. Jenna is currently studying the effects of different types of ECM on macrophage polarization. She is also using immunofluorescence to study the effects of muscle crush injuries on gene expression.
Abby Stahl is an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, studying Bioengineering with an emphasis on Cellular Engineering. Her research focuses on the effects of extracellular matrix on macrophage polarization and examines the in vivo macrophage phenotype following traumatic injury in the central nervous system.
Yolandi van der Merwe
Yolandi van der Merwe is an undergraduate student studying Bioengineering with a concentration in Cellular Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently focused on the decellularization of neural tissue to produce a biologic scaffold consisting of extracellular matrix (ECM). Her research focuses on the role that the ECM can have in treating spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.
Justin Wildemann is an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh studying Bioengineering with a Cellular Engineering concentration. His research focuses on investigating the host response to injectable ECM gel scaffolds in a rat model of liver damage.
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.
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.
Frederik Ceyssens was born in Sint-Truiden, Belgium in 1980. In 2003 he received the degree of M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. The subject of his MS thesis (done at Imec, Belgium) was to design a network-on-chip for efficient multicore communication. After that, he became research assistant at MICAS, investigating novel microfabrication (MEMS) technologies such as SU-8 and their applications in integrated optics and sensors. In 2009, he obtained the PhD degree. He is currently working as a research fellow of the FWO, researching novel brain-computer interfaces in a collaboration between KULeuven and the Gasthuisberg university hospital. He is visiting the Badylak lab in the period January-March 2013.
Kristen Jones, MD
Dr. Jones is a fifth-year Neurosurgery resident at UPMC. Her clinical and translational research interests are in brain and spinal cord trauma. She is currently investigating the in vivo potential of central nervous system extracellular matrix as an implantable bioscaffold for neural repair after traumatic injury, focusing on modulation of the macrophage response to promote tissue remodeling. Kristen received her B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Notre Dame, and her M.D. from Tulane University School of Medicine. She plans to practice neurosurgery in an academic setting while actively continuing her laboratory research interests.
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.
Mike Sawkins' undergraduate degree is a BA in Natural Sciences (Astrophysics) from the Cambridge University, and now part of an EPSRC-funded Doctoral Training Centre program in Regenerative Medicine, based at universities in Loughborough, Nottingham and Keele. More specifically he is a PhD student in Professor Kevin Shakesheff's Tissue Engineering Group at the University of Nottingham as part of a multi-centre BBSRC-funded project involving Nottingham, Southampton and Keele Universities, and Imperial College, London. his work focuses on injectable delivery systems which can precisely control both the spatial and temporal profile of growth factor presentation, and it is with the aim of furthering this work that he visited the laboratory of Dr. Badylak at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Abiraman Srinivasan, M.Phil, PhD
Abiraman Srinivasan received his M.Phil degree in endocrinology from University of Madras and PhD in Biomaterials from Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology. He is investigating the mechanism of ECM peptide interaction with perivascular stem cells using click conjugation chemistry and also working with ECM gels to understand perivascular stem cell response to 2D and 3D seeding and their differentiation properties under static and dynamic condition in vitro. His research interest is in biomaterial-cell-tissue interaction and designing and developing biomaterials primarily for orthopedic fracture repair. He has worked with ceramics, polymers, metallic implants and their composites for bone and cartilage repair. Also, his research interest is on designing and developing nanostructured polymeric materials for DNA/siRNA/protein delivery to prevent or treat soft and hard tissue pathogenesis.
Jian (Timothy) Zhang, MD, PhD
Dr. Zhang is 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. In 2009, Dr. Zhang won the Young Medical Elite of Shanghai, and in 2011, Dr. Zhang won the Top Promising Young Doctors of Shanghai in New Century and. 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.
Jeremy Gale is a first year rotation student in the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program, and I'm interested in immunology and regenerative medicine. My research in the Badylak lab focuses on using macrophages as an indicator of the biocompatibilty of implantable materials and the molecular basis of esophageal stricture.
Aditya Joshi is a 3rd year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh. He is focusing on the chemotaxis and differentiation of progenitor cells and stem cells in response to fragments of extracellular matrix released after enzymatic digestion ("matricryptic peptides"). He is currently investigating potential receptors for matricryptic peptides on perivascular stem cells.
Nyla Naim is a doctoral student within the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Her current research focuses on the effect of the extracellular matrix on macrophage phenotype.
Evaluation of the Effect of Small Intestinal Submucosa on the Remodeling of Patellar Tendon Donor Sites in a Canine Model
Pancreatic Extracellular Matrix as a Substrate for Islet Cell Differentiation and Growth
In Vitro Remodeling of ECM Scaffolds by Fibroblasts and the Effect of Mechanical Loading
Liver Derived ECM for Hepatic Tissue Engineering
ECM Gels as Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering
Macrophage Involvement in the Remodeling of ECM Scaffolds
Biologically Active Degradation Products of Mammalian Extracellular Matrix
ECM Scaffolds and Macrophage Polarization-Induced Tissue Remodeling
Cardiac Extracellular Matrix as a Scaffold for Myocardial Repair & Reconstruction
ECM Degradation, Matricryptic Peptides, and Stem Cell Recruitment.