BME 7900 Seminar - Zhen Ma, PhD



Weill Hall 226


Our first speaker for the Spring 2020 semester is Dr. Zhen Ma from Syracuse University. He is an Assistant Professor and a Samuel and Carol Nappi Research Scholar in the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering, and the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute. Engineering Spatial-Organized Human Cardiac Organoids Abstract: Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) have altered the landscape of regenerative medicine and developmental biology, since these cells provide an unprecedented opportunity to study human-specific tissue morphogenesis and organ development. With the emergent concept of stem cell organoids, these 3D cultures of developing tissue imply similarity to the manner in which different organs establish their characteristic structure and functions based on dynamic multicellular self-organization at the tissue level. However, one of the challenges of current 3D organoid technology is lack of spatial biophysical controls to promote distinct tissue patterning in self-assembled organoids. To tackle this challenge, we apply microfabrication technologies to control hiPSC growth and differentiation, and to generate spatial-organized 3D beating cardiac organoids, which approximate the early stages of human heart formation. This cardiac organoid system could provide us mechanobiological insights how biophysical cues regulate the structural, functional and cellular properties of stem cell organoids. We also demonstrate the feasibility of this early developing heart model as a powerful tool to screen for drug-induced embryotoxicity on fetal heart development. Bio: Zhen Ma is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biomedical & Chemical Engineering and the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute at the Syracuse University. He directs the System Tissue Engineering & Morphogenesis (STE-Ma) Laboratory, which focuses on the development of next-generation human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs)-based patient/disease-specific in vitro tissue models. Dr. Ma received his Ph.D. degree in Bioengineering from Clemson University, where he was mentored by Dr. Bruce Z. Gao to study intercellular communication between stem cells and cardiomyocytes at single-cell level. He then worked as a postdoc in Dr. Kevin E. Healy’s lab at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received Siebel Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship, and CMBE Postdoctoral Shooting Star Award. Dr. Ma joined as a faculty member at the Syracuse University in 2016. He received Lush Prize Young Researcher at Americas from Lush Cosmetics.