North Carolina A&T State University

NSF Engineering Research Center + Bioengineering Joint Seminar Series


Understanding the Role of the Microenvironment in
Cardiovascular Differentiation

Dr. Jessica M. Gluck
Post Doctoral Fellow
Division of Cardiology
Department of Internal Medicine
University of California, Davis


11 AM – 11:50 AM – Friday, February 6, 2015
McNair Hall Lecture Room 4

Due to the limited regenerative ability following myocardial injury, one promising therapeutic approach is to repopulate the heart with human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (CMs); however the resulting CMs are characteristically immature relative to the adult CMs, making them unsafe and unable to immediately improve cardiac function. Extracellular environment is known to direct cellular differentiation and maturation. Tissue engineered structures are fast becoming a viable solution to study the influence of the extracellular microenvironment on cardiac differentiation of stem cells as well as offering potential treatment of heart disease by replacing diseased cardiovascular tissue. These 3D structures more closely mimic the in vivo native environment to further understand the complex nature of cardiovascular tissue development. We have engineered biomaterial structures to direct cardiac differentiation and investigate the effects of extracellular matrix on the myofilament development that can improve their contractile properties in human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived CMs.


About the Speaker

Jessica M. Gluck, PhD, is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Cardiology division of the Internal Medicine department at the University of California, Davis. She was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship in the UC Davis Stem Cell Training Program, sponsored by the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. After growing up in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina, she attended NC State University and received her BS (2005) and MS (2007) from the College of Textiles. She earned a second MS (2008) in Biomedical Engineering and her doctoral degree in Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology (2013) from the University of California, Los Angeles. During her time there, she worked under the mentorship of Dr. W. Robb MacLellan and Dr. Richard Shemin on cardiac stem cell tissue engineering projects. Her work was funded by a pre-doctoral fellowship from the NRSA-sponsored UCLA Vascular Biology Training Program. She also participated in a STEM-outreach program as a mentor to high school students from local schools.