University of Minnesota


System Regeneration Lab


Brenda Ogle, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Ogle CV

I am a biomedical engineer who seeks to more clearly understand the conditions that govern stem cell fate to enhance the regenerative capacity of mammalian systems. My current research interests are to 1) to understand the role of extracellular matrix proteins in guiding stem cell differentiation and 2) to develop novel tools for analyzing stem cell behavior and for delivering stem cells or associated progeny to the body.

Sacha Robert, Ph.D.

After receiving my PhD in Biology from Rennes 1 University in France, I started a postdoctoral fellowship in Ogle lab on January 2017. My research seeks to understand how cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions can impact and/or modulate the differentiation of stem cells into cardiomyocytes. With this goal in mind, and using 2D and 3D culture models where induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are cultured in optimized ECM proteins, I will characterize the signaling pathways leading to the differentiation of those cells. The characterization of those pathways is of high interest since understanding how, when and which signaling pathways are involved in the differentiation of iPSCs into cardiomyocytes is a step further in the engineering of functional cardiac tissue.

Rebecca Hortensius, Ph.D.

After completing my PhD in bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I joined the Ogle lab in March 2017. My research interests include studying the role of the native wound healing response in tissue regeneration as well as using natural biomaterial ECM composition to provide inherent cues to direct cellular behavior in vitro and in vivo. Via 3D bioprinting technology, my goal is to fabricate cell-laden cardiac tissue mimics for in vivo regeneration.

Elizabeth Wilson
Graduate Research Assistant

I am a PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering Department. I joined the lab in Fall, 2017. I will be investigating the signaling pathways triggered by engagement of stem cells with extracellular matrix proteins, especially those implicated in cardiomyocyte differentiation. Outcomes of these studies will allow the lab to manipulate such pathways with intent to enhance muscle differentiation with the ultimate goal of cardiac tissue regeneration.

Victor Garcia
Graduate Research Assistant

I am a PhD student being co-advised by Dr. Brenda Ogle and Dr. Casim Sarkar in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. The primary focus of my research is to design an artificial cell-like therapy (ACT) which would selectively deliver cancer drugs and other therapeutics to cancer cells, while excluding other cells in the host. I am working towards using re-targeted viral fusogens specific to surface receptors upregulated in breast cancer. By incorporating these fusogens into a liposomal drug carrier, the goal is to achieve an ultrasensitive system that can distinguish between cancer and normal cells, based on surface expression levels of specific cancer biomarkers.

Mikayla Hall
Graduate Research Assistant

I am a Biomedical Engineering PhD student interested in tissue engineering. My project aims to identify an extracellular matrix composition which will induce endothelial differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells. The ultimate goal of this project is to create vascularized tissue constructs through spatial control of the extracellular matrix components especially via 3D bioprinting.

Molly Kupfer
Graduate Research Assistant

I am a Biomedical Engineering PhD student at the University of Minnesota with an interest in biomaterials and tissue engineering. My project aims to utilize 3D printing technology to fabricate human cardiac tissue from extracellular matrix (ECM)-based materials with precise spatial control to guide the distribution of different cardiac cell types. My goal is to first establish a platform for spatiotemporally modulating stem cell differentiation in 2D culture and subsequently scale up this system in order to produce functional vascularized cardiac tissue.

Wei-Han Lin
Graduate Research Assistant

I am a first year PhD student in biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota. My dominant interests are tissue engineering and the influence of environmental signals on stem cells. I am now working to develop an in vitro model of the dermo-epidermal junction exploiting polymeric hydrogels and extracellular matrix proteins to better understand the etiology of dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa. Meanwhile, I also start to work on my main project that combines electrical/mechanical stimulation and 3D printing technique to improve differentiation and functionality of cardiomyocytes and engineered heart tissue.

Casey Chitwood
Graduate Research Assistant

I am a PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. I am interested in regenerative medicine, cellular and tissue engineering. I joined the lab in Fall 2015. I am currently investigating the treatment of vascular degeneration, more specifically, the treatment of aneurysms using less invasive therapies. The approach involves the use of cell-based therapies due to the natural ability of certain cells to modulate inflammation. The ultimate goal of my project is to find a minimally invasive therapy that could be used to treat unruptured intracranial aneurysms.

Sophie Givens
Graduate Research Assistant

I am a PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. I joined the lab in Fall 2017. I am interested in tissue engineering and the interface between tissue engineering and biomaterials. I am working on methods for new technologies for improving differentiation of various cardiac cell types from pluripotent stem cells.

Megan Lenz
Masters Student

I am a masters student in the Biomedical Engineering program and joined the System Regeneration Lab in January 2017. I am interested in tissue engineering in the hopes that one day I can improve patient's quality of life with regenerative medicine. My project deals with how environmental factors affect cellular fusion of breast cancer cells (MMTVs) with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). First, I aim to do this by tracking fusion products using a Cre-loxP based system on increasingly stiff substrates in vitro.

Abby Gifford
Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am an undergraduate student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.  I joined the Lab in Spring, 2018.  I am excited to learn about the many opportunities that come with being a biomedical engineer and will be working on projects intended to optimize 3D bioprinting with low viscosity inks.

Claire Dietzsch
Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am undergraduate student in Statistics. I am working to test whether cell fusion between breast tumor cells and cells of the stroma promote tumor diversity and facilitate metastasis. Toward this goal I am utilizing two interesting systems to detect cell fusion. One system involves the use of Bimolecular Fluorescence Complementation to identify fusion products in vitro; the other uses Cre-loxP mediated excision to track fusion products in vivo.

Gabriel Jacobs
Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am an undergraduate student majoring in biomedical engineering. I am processing RNA sequencing data of fusion products formed spontaneously between stromal cells and tumor cells. I am trying to determine whether cell fusion plays a role in cancer metastasis.

Lab Alumni

Julia Wolter, M.S., Scientist, MIVI Neuroscience

Didarul Bhuiyan, Ph.D., R&D Forumlation Scientist, MilliporeSigma

Philip Jung, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Lousianna State University

Felicite Noubissi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Jackson State University

Brian Freeman, Ph.D., Field Specialist, Stem Cell Technologies

Quyen Tran, Ph.D., Engineer, DRVision

Jayne Squirrell, Ph.D., Assistant Scientist, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pablo Hofbauer, Ph.D. program, Austria

Meredith Bache-Wiig, Research Assistant, University of Washington-Seattle

Jimmy Fong, M.S., Research Scientist, Prairie Technologies

Ty Harkness, Ph.D., Consultan, C1 Consulting NYC

David Buschke, Ph.D., Research Scientist, iCyt

Kevin Hanson, M.S., Research Scientist, Abcam

Nicholas Kouris, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Advanced Cell Technology

Ty Harkness, M.S., Research Assistant, UW-Madison

AJ Sprangers, Research Assistant, Northwestern

John Byce, Research Scientist GE Healthcare

Hopi Lin, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow, NIH

Carlos Ariza, Ph.D. Senior Engineer, KLA-Tencor

Ann Sagstetter, University of Florida, School of Dentistry

Ryan Pogemiller, M.S., Research Scientist, Covidien

Miguel Benson, M.S., Research Scientist, Cellular Dynamics



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