About Me

I received my PhD from the Technion-Israel Institute for Technology, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. I was then recruited to the Laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Cellular Therapies and promoted to Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Harvard Medical School. I am currently a Professor of Regenerative Medicine and the Chief Science Program Officer at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

My research focuses on multiple aspects of regenerative medicine including identification of new sources of cells and scaffolds for tissue engineering, tissue neovascularization, real-time imaging technologies and fabrication of bioengineered tissues as developmental and disease models. Specific examples are the use of tissue-derived extracellular matrices as scaffolds for whole organ bioengineering.

My lab has published a seminal manuscript describing, for the first time, the making of functional small human livers from liver progenitor cells. Using a similar approach, my lab developed small, 3D tissue constructs (organoids) for testing of new drugs without the need to tests in animals. We used the organoids to study human organogenesis in vitro and disease modeling, including tissue fibrosis and cancer. This technology will allow to develop new drugs to treat many diseases and test them on cells derived from individual patients.

Based on this work, a new Wake Forest Organoid Research Center (WFORCE) was recently established, on which I serve as the scientific director. WFORCE has a goal to make the tumor organoid platform available to clinicians who search for the best treatment for individual patients and basic researchers who are looking for advanced in vitro tumor models.

Education Program Involvement

Biomedical Engineering PhD
Program Research Interest: Biomaterials, Biomechanics, Biomedical Imaging, Cardiovascular Engineering, Nanomedicine and Nanobioengineering, Neuroengineering, Tissue Engineering, Translational Cancer Research

Cancer Biology PhD
Program Research Interest: Cellular defense and metabolism, Aberrant signaling pathways in tumor cells, Cell growth and survival, Molecular cancer epidemiology, Gene-environment interactions, Cancer control

Molecular Genetics and Genomics PhD
Program Research Interest: Identification of genetic variants that contribute to complex disease, Gene-environment interactions, Epigenetics, Genetic epidemiology, Bioinformatics

Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology PhD 
Program Research Interest: Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Cardiovascular Physiology and Hypertension, Regenerative Medicine, Neuro- and Behavioral Pharmacology, Cancer Therapeutics Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Lifespan Physiology. 

Molecular Medicine and Translational Science PhD
Program Research Interest: Analytical approaches to molecular and cellular synthesis, structure and function, Genetics and gene regulation, Cell communications, Organ systems, Pathophysiology