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.
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
Research Assistant Professor, Badylak Lab
Neill Turner 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 graduated from Beijing Medical University from China, have many years experience in biomedical research field, joined Dr. Badylak's lab in 2006
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Matt Wolf is a doctoral student in the BioEngineering department at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently investigating the production, physical characteristics, composition, and efficacy of a biologic scaffold that is composed of extracellular matrix (ECM) and derived from skeletal muscle for regenerative medicine applications.
Cecilia Collins is an undergraduate student studying bioengineering with a biomechanics concentration. Her research is currently focused on testing different methods for assessment of the decellularization of ECM materials.
Jenna Dziki is an undergraduate student in the Bioengineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research examines the ability of ECM scaffolds to facilitate skeletal muscle regeneration through enhanced progenitor cell recruitment and differentiation and modulation of the host innate immune response.
Eric Haljasmaa is an undergraduate bioengineering student at the University of Pittsburgh. His research projects involve studying the effect of cell remnants on the immune response and downstream remodeling processes, and the characterization of the early events following ECM-derived biomaterial implantation.
Christian Ranallo is an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh studying bioengineering with a concentration in biomechanics. His current research is focused on studying the effects of different methods of terminal sterilization on ECM scaffolds, improving biocompatibility of synthetic mesh implants by an ECM coating, and determining the mechanisms by which mechanical loading modulates the constructive remodeling response of ECM scaffolds.
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.
Sophie is visiting from the Polytech’Nice Sophia Department at the University of Nice, France, where she is studying Bioengineering. Her research in the Badylak lab centers 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.
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.
Adam Attaar is an undergraduate student at Duke University majoring in Biophysics. His research involves studying the mechanisms of biomaterial-mediated esophageal regeneration in pre-clinical models such as the use of ECM scaffolds.
Colin Beckwitt, a recent graduate of MIT's Biological Engineering department, is a first year student in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on investigating the effects of blocking the surface antigen CD47 on hepatocyte growth and survival and measuring the phagocytosis of polarized macrophages.
Mike Calderon is a first year doctoral student within the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. His interests include wound healing and cell-cell interactions. For his rotation in the Badylak lab, he looked at the effects in vivo ECM degradation products had on macrophages and progenitor cells.
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.
Victoria Messerschmidt is a sophomore in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. Her research will consist of using decellularized porcine colonic tissue to in hopes of treating inflamed colonic mucosa. She will be testing the biomechanics and biochemical characteristics to better understand the different properties of the tissue.
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.
Prashanti Patil is a doctoral student within the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Her current research focuses on examining the gene expression of whole liver extracellular matrix scaffolds following recellularization.
Nicholas Siebenlist is a medical student in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh. His research is focused upon the epimorphic regenerative properties of extracellular matrices upon multipotent cell subsets and the role of the immune response in the regenerative process.
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
Tissue and whole organ decellularization: an evaluation of cytocompatibility and mechanics
Central Nervous system Extracellular Matrix as a Therapeutic Bioscaffold for Central Nervous System Injury
Constructive Tissue Remodeling by Extracellular Matrix Bioscaffolds within the Aging Skeletal Muscle Microenvironment
The Influence of Tissue Specific Cardiac and Skeletal Muscle Extracellular Matrix on Muscle Remodeling